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Gin styles explained in Anthology of Gin pack

UK-based online gin specialist Gin Foundry is launching a tasting sample set named Anthology of Gin, offering a complete introduction for consumers to the history of gin, along with four samples of different key gin styles presented in black 20cl ceramic bottles.

Each gin in the pack has been custom distilled and created as an exaggeration of the style it represents, taken from a particular stage in the time-line of the development of gin.

The set illustrates gin’s transformation from its initial uses as a medicine, through Genever to the higher proof naval styles, sweetened Old Tom gin and ultimately the style most widely appreciated style today, dry gin.

According to Gin Foundry – a blog site that has designs on being regarded as the ‘Home of Gin’ online – the aim of the Anthology of Gin pack is not to sell the merits of the four individual gins it contains, but “to help consumers find which style of gin they prefer most and to gain a better understanding of the spirit”.

The company was founded by Olivier and Emile Ward. Emile says: “Gin Foundry is a huub for both gin fans and brands alike, and everything we do is about creating conversations between the two.

“For example, included in the pack is a booklet recommending other gins that would suit someone should they like a particular style.”

She adds that Gin Foundry’s aim is to “help unveil some of the mysteries of the gin category”.

Asked aout the choice and design of the packaging, Olivier Ward, says: "We do all the design in-house at Gin Foundry. It’s an element of the process that we all love getting involved in and constantly chat about to push the limits further.

"We source suppliers from all over the UK to create the pack. We change depending on what we are seeking with various labels and packaging but look for two consistent points: British based suppliers and upmost quality. We’re a small company so where possible, we like to work with like minded companies - family based and with integrity.

"The bottles are made in Germany. We spent a long time searching for a supplier in Stoke-on-Trent as that was the home of British ceramics, but since the industry here has moved to China and the big names of old have long since disappeared, there are very few places that can make custom bottles, let alone glaze them. Each bottle would have cost £4.50 to make, so completely unaffordable.

"The rationale behind creating the the pack was really simple - tell the story of gin in a way that was engaging to those discovering the spirit on multiple levels. There are so many stories in the history of gin and we love to tell these when we do tastings. It seemed like the perfect fit to sit down and illustrate them. The key thing for all of us is that if it’s on the pack, it’s got to mean something. Every element is a representation of a key figure, a character in time or part of a story. It looks busy but there is, literally, not a single thing that isn’t imbued with meaning. That way, it can be seen on a basic level as something fun and enjoyable, but if you want to look further, you can delve into it in many ways - just like you can when enjoying / tasting a gin.

"Some of the stories are a little more literal - the little shed and windmill are a direct reference to the grain production in Holland and the fact that Bol’s original distillery was just that - a little shed! Others are more symbolic, like the Howitzer gun said to be the inspiration for the classic gin cocktail, the French 75.

"Others are more grandiose - like the Tom Cat looking at a floating crown and sceptre, that are being taken adrift towards a boat and a rising still sitting under the London skyline and an air balloon. While this may seem random, it’s our version of history told in a similar way to Renaissance symbolism and narratives in portraits. In this case Old Tom Gin lost it’s place as the favoured style as a newer, dryer style due to the Coffey still's increasing popularity and gin took off in London. The balloon is a depiction of the current state of gin which is enjoying a meteoric rise where many have warned it could be a bubble.

The colour of the pack was chosen to be dark for two reasons. The first was a nod to the idea that historically, gin has a bit of a dark side. There are some really mirky, shady moments in it’s history and whilst we didn’t want to illustrate in a grotesque manner, choosing a dark colour felt like a subtle way to bring this in. We chose the deep charcoal grey as it was reminiscent of a chalkboard - which felt right for the idea behind the entire pack - it’s there to be enjoyed but also to help educate about the category and help people uncover more. Not quite back to school, more what we all wished school had been like back in the day!"

Anthology of Gin £75, available from

22 September 2014 - David Longfield