As our journey at CommonwealthCocktails takes us to new cocktail recipes and trying new craft-made spirits, we now take a stop at the more serious side of things; what happens behind the scenes to set up and run a craft distillery. Enter “The CommonwealthCocktails Project”, a sober but interesting look at how distilleries startup, manufacture and sustain their unique brands in a huge but competitive marketplace.
So... who’s making these fruit liqueurs?
Georgia Bardsley, who is the director of Bardsley England and responsible for new fruit liqueurs made by True British Spirit, took some time to talk with my colleague Travis about how they went about establishing their brand Nectus and what fruits they decided to use and why.
Bardsley England itself is one of the biggest top fruit (fruit that grows on trees) growers in the country and, with a huge amount of second class fruit going to waste, saw an opportunity to start making something to prevent this. Initially, fruit juice was produced, but after a few years, the real plan started to come together and fruit liqueurs became the mission.
Plum and apricot liqueur
True British Spirit settled on apricots and plums for their fruit liqueurs. Due to their shorter shelf life, these stone fruits have less of a demand as second class fruit. Furthermore, sieving, destoning, pulping and finally fermenting all on-site meant that they could cut out huge amounts of waste and even reduce costs that come with such things as cold-storing.
Creating a luxury fruit liqueur
For those looking to purchase Nectus fruit spirits, they probably won’t miss the £75 price tag of either bottle. Georgia explains in the interview what is behind the costing and what makes it such a luxury item. As I listened, I wasn’t surprised by the fact that labour costs are high. Add to that, certain machines have to be acquired and each bottle is hand-labeled and packed into a sleekly designed box. But what caught my ear is that it would be cheaper to simply import fruit puree from mainland Europe. This company handles everything locally in Kent, and there is no base-spirit added, meaning that the alcohol is purely the product of its locally grown fermented fruit.
If you would like to hear the full interview with Georgia, which includes how they came up with the name True British Spirit, the risks involved in creating all self-made small-batch liqueurs and much more, please listen to our podcast here.