SLOE CATCHES ON FAST
The Norfolk Sloe Company was set up near Fakenham in 2011 by husband and wife team Patrick and Sarah Saunders following a bumper harvest of their sloes.
Every year, the couple and their children made sloe gin for friends and family, but suddenly what was an annual tradition became a potential business idea, such was the volume.
Their first gin – Black Shuck Sloe Gin – achieved a prestigious Great Taste Three Star award – so they began developing their own Norfolk-inspired premium gin.
“In December 2015 after two years of recipe development and taste trials, involving gin loving friends and family, our dream became a reality and the first 1,000 bottles of Black Shuck Gin were sold within just four weeks. It always gives us a thrill to see it on the shelves and hearing customers rave about the taste.”
The gins are very much inspired by the landscape around them and the couple have drawn on the county’s history to create a brand with strong local connections.
“Its silky character echoes the sweeping beaches, meandering inland waterways and easy-going lifestyle. While its fresh lilac tones are reminiscent of the big skies the contrasting vibrant bursts of fiery orange reflect Norfolk’s timeless natural beauty,” she said.
“For those who don’t know, the legend of Black Shuck is synonymous with the Norfolk coast and is one with which we have grown up. Using the strapline Black Shuck Gin, Norfolk’s Legendary Spirit, seemed fitting.”
The company is very much a family concern, with everyone contributing different skills.
“Business meetings tend to be held over a big Sunday lunch with everyone contributing ideas and opinions. The Black Shuck image used on all of our products was designed by our daughter Leanne. When it comes to bottling and labelling it’s all hands on deck. With plenty of banter being exchanged and with an eclectic mix of music playing even the laborious tasks become enjoyable,” said Sarah.
Family and friends of Patrick and Sarah Saunders taste test some new gin flavours
Patrick and Sarah Saunders from the Norfolk Sloe Company