I started HMS Spirits back in 2016 and what started as a hobby soon turned into something more, ultimately requiring me to invest a house deposit to realise my dream. I will add this was an awkward conversation with my mother as at 32 years old, I informed her over Sunday lunch that I was about to make yet another seemingly irresponsible decision!
My journey began when I invested in a 35 litre copper still, during a completely non-related trip to Hungary, shipped it back and installed it in my garage. Over the next few years I spent every spare moment trialing different recipes, blends and botanicals in search of the perfect mix - a gin that respected the art of the London Dry, but also delivered a fresh, unexpected twist.
The eureka moment arrived in early 2016 when the blend I was working on hit the spot with my friends, who were soon looking to try more. The recipe had been perfected but now I needed everything else, from selecting the right bottles and stoppers to designing labels and settling on a name. This was a labour of love in itself, because everything had to look and feel as distinctive as the gin itself tasted.
The name was inspired by my proximity to the sea and naval family background. The ‘HMS fleet’ seemed to capture the sentiment perfectly, encompassing integrity and respect for others, together with a real sense of adventure, and a willingness to go out there and take risks.
And so, later in 2016, the HMS Spirits Company was formed.
Mary Rose London Dry Gin is our flagship spirit and was launched in September 2017. It's carefully crafted in small batches, is juniper forward but perfectly balanced with subtle hints of rosemary and grapefruit, for a distinctive smooth taste. We have been incredibly humbled by the support we've received; Mary Rose Gin is selling fast and now also winning awards, including LSC Silver 2018 and IWSC Outstanding Silver and Outstanding Gin and Tonic Silver 2018.
We have just launched our Dreadnought Gin, the second in our fleet. It's a Navy Strength at 57.5% and so called because a warship's gunpowder could still ignite, even if soaked in the spirit. We were extremely lucky to be helped to launch this by the Think Gin Club and it's had tremendous feedback. We have high hopes for our Dreadnought during awards season.
The next blend we are looking to launch is a beautiful summery Elderflower Gin. Having spent months working to perfect the recipe it's now finished and ready to go. We are using a classic London Dry Gin base and adding a natural elderflower distillate which produces a juniper led gin on the nose followed by the light flowery and honey like tones of elderflower that results in a crisp, palate-cleansing finish.
This is the look for the new Elderflower inner label, in keeping with our ‘Chart your own course’ nautical brand theme.
We need your help to get this project off the ground because like most small independent businesses, access to classic forms of funding is difficult and cash flow is generally what makes or breaks you.
We’re looking to spread the word far and wide quickly and need money to help with the exciting marketing push we’ve got planned.
In return for your support you'll find the various rewards listed including the chance to be the first to own a numbered "Distillers Cut" bottle of our Elderflower Gin. So please get involved, become part of the crew and help this independent British spirit on the next leg of our journey....
To add a little fun to proceedings all supporters will also be put into a raffle to join Rob (Operations Director for HMS Spirits) and I on a trip to the Isle of Wight. We'll leave from the exclusive Sandbanks and take a luxury sports boat across to the Island before mooring up and having lunch. Everyone will be given a number and we'll use a random number generator to chose 2 winners of 2 tickets. We'll announce this all live on Facebook.
My personal thanks go out to everyone that's supported us so far in what's been the most challenging, exciting and overwhelming year of my life. Thank you in advance to everyone supporting this crowdfunding campaign.
We hope that 2019 will be a big year for us and we'll be arranging as many events as possible to involve you, our customers by way of thanks. Best wishes and an early Happy Christmas! Ben.