Giant steps for unique gin from Causeway Coast entrepreneurs

Giants Basalt Rock Gin, recently introduced at Bushmills by distillers James Richardson and Martha Garbe, both aged 25, is on the road to success here and beyond.

Giant’s Basalt Rock Gin

Garry Connelly, Managing Director of Anzac Drinks, is delighted with the success of the new gin.

“When I first heard about Basalt Distillery and the plans for Giant’s Gin, I was immediately intrigued,” he says. “When I saw the product later I knew it was a must have. When I tried it, I was more than impressed with the quality and taste. Anzac Drinks is not much more than a stone’s throw from the world famous Giant’s Causeway and we are delighted to be associated with the new and thriving distillery. Giant’s Basalt Rock Gin is elegant, sophisticated and contemporary.

“Gin is a fabulous local product and that’s what we’re all about at Anzac Drinks; to offer consumers the best, unique, locally sourced products. We are very much looking forward to continuing and expanding our relationships with the guys at Basalt.”

Anzac Wines and Spirits is one of Northern Ireland’s leading beverage wholesalers, importers and distributors. A family business, Anzac has been supplying retailers across Northern Ireland for almost 30 years. The company has grown strongly year-over-year, and there are additional plans to continue that growth.

James Richardson and Martha Garbe of Giants Basalt Rock Gin in Bushmills see a growing business

It is currently the agent for various wines, beers and spirits from around the world and strives to be the first to meet the needs of all types of beverage outlets across the industry.

The Giant’s Basalt Rock brand is now available here in almost 60 different outlets in the on and off trade sector and this number is increasing rapidly week in and week out.

James adds: “Having Garry and the rest of the Anzac team take over and support the brand in our local market was a great win for our initial growth strategy.

“We’re excited to see the year ahead, with big plans to see our iconic bottles in all of their gin outlets across the country.”

The distillery uses water from its own 600-foot well, which is filtered through the same basalt rock basin as the Giant’s Causeway in its production processes. This pure water source has a unique mineral composition for the region and gives the gin a high level of purity.

Start-up entrepreneurs James and Martha are both chemical engineering graduates from Heriot Watt University in Scotland. They bring a scientific approach to distilling

James explains, “Martha and I both have master’s degrees in chemical engineering and we apply this meticulous scientific approach to distilling. This is a step away from the handmade, artisanal approach. It’s something new that relies on precision and accuracy to create the most incredible flavors and quality spirits.”

After completing Masters degrees in Chemical Engineering, James and Martha both pursued distilling and earned their certification from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, as well as taking a university course from distillery manufacturer iStill. They also created the small company with a strong emphasis on the latest sustainable practices, cutting edge distillation technology and an unrivaled focus on precision.

The distillery has also moved away from traditional copper stills, opting for a square stainless steel alembic called iStill, which it claims eliminates the inconsistencies associated with using traditional copper stills. It also helps in dealing with issues such as barometric pressure and temperature fluctuations and cooling. This allows the products to be reproduced exactly every time.

Key botanicals in the gin have been selected from the coastal regions of Northern Ireland, including Kombu Royale, which imparts a salty forward flavor followed by a hint of mint, and sea buckthorn, with a tart forward flavor and a light fruity sweetness to support the flavor. The third important botanical comes from further afield – sweet pepper or piper cubeba – which brings peppery spice and a slight bitterness. All of these botanicals contribute to the complex, bold, three-dimensional flavor profile carried by our high 50.1% ABV, delivering heat and a kick.

“We really wanted to create a unique gin with powerful flavors – a bold, strong gin full of heat and spice that represents the spirit of the giants,” says Martha. A visitor experience was also launched to introduce the technology and product to local visitors and tourists.