BarLifeUK has a soft spot for SW4 gin – it is produced down the road from us in Clapham and South Londoners have to stick together…
SW4 gin has been getting a lot of press recently, with positive reviews in the likes of Harpers, The Publican and even the Financial Times. The Portobello Star’s Jake Burger is also a fan, describing SW4 as “a no nonsense, great tasting gin that is brilliant with tonic”.
The fine chaps in Gerry’s of Old Compton Street told us it was selling like hot cakes, so we had a chat with brand owner Martin Price to find out why his new baby is doing so well in such a crowded market.
BLUK: What’s the story with SW4… why did you launch into one of the most fiercely contested spirit sectors?
MP: I couldn’t find a gin that ticked all of the taste boxes for me, so I decided to see if I could make my own, and to my surprise, nobody stopped me.
The SW4 target is me. I like a gin with lots of juniper and citrus, and with a spicy kick. It has to work in a G&T, a Negroni, and a Martini. Those are my favourites, everything else is a bonus. SW4 is definitely a gin, so if you want a flavoured vodka or a fruit liqueur, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
BLUK: Why did you decide to produce it in Clapham?
MP: I talked to a lot of distilleries both in Scotland and England, but none of them was able to combine delivering a bespoke liquid with small batch production.
It was either “take an off-the-shelf liquid, and we’ll do a short run” or “we’ll make your liquid but you need to buy a ten thousand case batch”.
Thames Distillers in Clapham offered small batches, and the opportunity to make my own bespoke liquid, so in the end it was a no-brainer.
The distillery itself is a real working distillery; they have a couple of small pot stills, a small bottling line and that’s it. People expecting a visitor centre and lots of shiny copper kit will be disappointed, but I like the sense of purpose there. It’s all about creating great spirits.
BLUK: Where can our readers try / buy SW4?
MP: Gerry’s have it in London and Leeds, Vino Wines and Woodwinter’s in Edinburgh, Royal Mile Whiskies, lots of online shops; The Drink Shop.com, Slurp.co.uk.
We are the pouring Gin in Hush, Villandry and Kitchen Italia Restaurants, we’re in Graphic Bar in Golden Square, The Berry Bar at the Hilton Green Park and intermittently at quite a few other London bars.
Ironically, you’ll probably struggle to get an SW4 in Clapham, but I’m working on it…