If you’re a fan of fruity craft gins - then the spectacular North42 Gin combines crisp rhubarb and sweet blood orange with perfectly balanced botanicals. We spoke to co-founder Sally and found out about her incredible journey with co-founder Joanna as restaurant owners, gin creators, and we have to say - incredibly inspiring women in the food and drink industry. Enjoy!
Company Name: North42 Gin
Company Location: Leicester
Year the company launched: 2019
What you sell: North42 Gin - Rhubarb and Blood Orange flavoured premium craft gin.
How did you come up with the company name idea?
In 2014, myself and my business partner Joanna found and purchased a restaurant shell that needed a complete re-design & refurbishment – the perfect project to combine our skills and passions. North Bar and Kitchen was born and opened on Feb 4th 2015!
Situated at No.42 Hinckley Road, Leicester, our playful nature led us to a number game – we would stock and sell 41 of the highest quality gins - most of them chosen from our travels around the world. We said we would only sell a 42nd gin when we could make a world-class gin ourselves.
On our 4th anniversary of the restaurant, we launched the gin which was 14/2/19... number 42 again. The gin is also spirited at 42% ABV too. So all of these combined we came up with the name North42 Gin. They also say the meaning of life is 42 too…
What is the background story of how the company started?
We opened North Bar and Kitchen on Feb 4th 2015. We love combining flavours and especially pairing cocktails, wine and even gin with food so we created our first cocktail - the “Rhubarb Tumble”, which was inspired by my love of rhubarb, and Joanna’s ability to come up with perfect food pairings.
In 2017, we began producing gin tasting boards. These boards were created for our customers to taste and try different gins with mixer pairings that we recommended. This was all collected together from our tasting experiences from our travels and love for gin. The best-selling cocktail was Rhubarb Tumble which was certainly gaining a reputation among customers – and even among other cocktail mixologists who sent “spies” to the restaurant to find out how it was made.
2018 saw the arrival of the 5 Course Tasting Menus at North, paired with wines from favourite wine regions myself and Joanna had travelled to. Each tasting evening included talks from invited winemakers. Joanna also developed a Vegan Tasting Menu and won a PETA award for vegan culinary skills. All the while, customers and friends kept on saying the reputation you have for pairing gins, and it seemed natural that now was the time for North42!
In 2019, Joanna and I started the journey to create our own gin. It was the year of the restaurant’s 4th anniversary, we were becoming more established and Sally then felt she needed yet again another new project….
We wanted to create a world-class gin, with 100% natural ingredients that would taste great and pair well with food. We started to mix ingredients using Joanna’s expert palate with Joanna developing kitchen-based recipes and then working with an award-winning distiller for their gin expertise and production. We worked through hundreds of iterations of the recipe, continually tweaking the ingredients and mix until we had something they were proud enough to call North42!
On the 4th anniversary of North, myself and Joanna announced to customers and friends our intention to launch our own gin. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, we launched North42 Gin and was soon snapped up by Selfridges and was listed instantly. This led to being stocked in all of the Selfridges stores and online then being on the main display in Oxford Street Selfridges for Valentines.
We are now currently stocked in over 500 establishments across East Midlands. We have also converted non-gin lovers to loving gin with North42 as it is a smooth gin which is delicious neat over ice, pairs amazing with tonic or ginger ale and even more delicious in Prosecco or Champagne and a Gin Fizz! North42 Gin is also amazing in cocktails which you can make at home too!
What is your proudest moment so far?
I would say a proudest moment so far for myself and Joanna was getting listed in all of the Selfridges stores when we launched the gin and then on the main display in London's Selfridges store for Valentines as there was so many other big brands on display too!
What makes you stand out from competitors?
What makes us stand out from competitors is that North42 Gin pairs with food, usually you would pair food with wine. North42 can also be drunk neat at a high percentage of 42% with it being a flavoured gin too. Usually, you would get a burning taste down your throat when sipping a gin at that high percentage but you get a lovely smooth taste and most of our customers prefer drinking the gin neat which is my favourite too.
Any advice for anyone launching their own food and drink company?
I would say some advice would be to think about the reasoning why you are launching a new product = what are your company ethics? Also your brand image, story and identity.
What is your biggest challenge as an independent producer?
Within the market, ensuring you have a presence in the market, as the gin market is huge. Ensuring that your brand gains awareness, PR and brand recognition is also a challenge too.
Any plans/hopes/dreams for the future?
For our gin to be nationally recognised for people to ask for our gin by name, so they would straightaway say 'can I order a North42 and tonic…. Please?’
If you’re interested in trying this special gin, you can find North42 Gin, as well as several gin gifts here on the BoroughBox website.