Purist Year One - Our Story - PuristGin

Purist Year One - Our Story

By Stuart McLellan

Purist Year One - Our Story - PuristGin

Purist Gin has officially bid farewell to its first year. We’ve got huge aspirations for the year ahead, but it’s time to take a breather and reflect. We’ve had an incredibly exhilarating time. If you’re already a-part-of #PuristPeople then you’ll know our story, but if you’re new here, you may not! This is our story.

Purist began in June ‘20, during that little pandemic, you might have heard of it. Over the course of lockdown #1, Bruce, our founder, was forced to adapt. His previous venture, creating bespoke gins for retailers, became impossible to manage due to coronavirus. Bruce had an epiphany one day, realising that whilst bars and retailers may run dry, ordinary people's makeshift, at-home bars needing stocking.

The spark was there, now all we needed was the gin.

To understand exactly how the gin came to be, we have to rewind.

As a teenager, Bruce was concocting flavoured homemade gins; infused with various fruits and sugar and stored in mason jars in a dining room cupboard. Whilst these bathtub gins were made from own-brand supermarket gins and full of sugar, what was undeniably distilled in Bruce was passion.

Fresh out of high school, Bruce went travelling in the Far East, where the tastes and scents of Asia were influencing Purist long before its incarnation. Prominent Asian botanicals like Yuzu and Cassia (Chinese cinnamon) became an essential part of the Purist recipe. Upon return, Bruce added distillation experience to his resume at an award-winning Scottish distillery apprenticeship. 

It was this culmination that brought Purist Gin to life; determination during the pandemic, a unique understanding of distillation, exposure to the flavours of different cultures and a passion for gin cultivated over 5 years.

Bruce knew he wanted to create a classic London Dry Gin, aimed at genuine gin drinkers… let’s call them ‘purists’. Amongst the masses of diluted, highly flavoured gins and gin-based liqueurs, Purist Gin would represent a dedication to distillation. One still, one batch, diluted once to London Dry Gin Strength and no further.

We embarked to set the standard. A clean, smooth, punchy gin. The requirements for a London Dry are a clear, juniper led spirit distilled and bottled above 37.5% and that is exactly what we made. Period. We wanted Purist Gin to embody the idea of adhering to the process.

On July 1st 2020, the first ever batch of Purist Gin was bottled. We went with a simple, clean, black bottle with our original, abstract, ‘blue lines’ design, to capture the essence of Purist. Pictured below.

Batch #0 consisted of 550 bottles, we sold out pre-launch. For a start-up that had been entirely bootstrapped, this meant the world to us. We’re incredibly grateful to all the friends, family and gin-lovers out there who supported us at such a crucial time.

Suddenly, we’d gone from a passion-project in the West End of Glasgow to a proper gin company. It was moving fast. After launch, it was a matter of getting gin out the door, building the website and attracting stockists for Purist. Thankfully, we were approached by Craft56, one of the largest online-vendors for Scottish spirits, you can read more about them here - https://puristgin.co.uk/blogs/stockists/craft56

We had our eyes set on the 2020 Scottish Gin Awards, a prestigious event that assuming we performed well, would give us a monumental boost.

In November 2020, Purist Gin won the Bronze Award for London Dry Gin of the Year at the Scottish Gin Awards. We fully believed in Purist as a product but it still completely exceeded our expectations, we were off and running.

We rode the high (and the rise in sales) for as long as possible after the awards. We introduced our new Purist Black 57, a navy-strength (57%) expression of our now award-winning Purist recipe. It has a hyper-simplistic bottle design, with a minimalistic black-on-black label to capture it’s sophistication and strength. We distilled 72 bottles and launched it on the website with trepidation.

It sold out in under a week.

Purist Black 57 appealed to a seldom captured market, male gin-drinkers. Amongst the swarms of fruity gin-liqueurs, Black 57 had found its niche with no-nonsense gin-enthusiasts. It became the best-selling gin in our range.

Simultaneously, we launched an exciting concept, Purist Art initiative. Same award-winning recipe, all new aesthetic. 

We believe that great gin deserves great art, that’s why we decided to work with young, independent, Scottish artists to create stunning, unique labels for our limited edition batches. Award-winning adventure-sports photographer Ed Smith and street-photographer Angelo Carvalho created incredible winter and autumn themed labels for Batch #1. 

Since then, we’ve launched Purist Marble (37.5%), our lighter, citrus, summer expression. We wanted to show that great gin doesn’t need to break the bank. Moreover, in April this year, Colette Filippi (Bruce’s mum) came on-board as Chief Operating Officer, to plan for the future and ensure financial growth for the company. 

We’ve also partnered with StoryShop, a Glaswegian PR and marketing team who helped us achieve fantastic news coverage of our story, hopefully you’ve seen it!

Finally, in May this year, we launched our current batch of Purist Art Gin, showcasing the enchanting florals of Franny Moseley, a young, Edinburgh-based painter.

Fast-forward again to the present day, where year two is sprawled out in-front of us like a red carpet.

Two young kickstart interns have joined us, our team doubling to four. We’re excited to share the brand-new written and video content they’ll be creating to elevate our brand and social media presence. We’re also adjusting to life outside lockdown, a unique challenge for us, as a business born during the pandemic. The aim is to expand our stockists dramatically and mobilise our PR at an intense rate; as well as host our very first influencer-event! 

There’s going to be an awful-lot going on, so make sure you’re keeping up-to-date. Follow our instagram and add your email to our mailing list to join the #PuristPeople.

Cheers for reading our story and here’s to year two.

-The Purist Team-

Instagram - @purist_gin