interviews

Interview with Tom Lord – Hospitality Gin

‘Hospitality Gin is a London dry gin, it’s old school with big flavours’

During my time working within the hospitality industry, I have met a lot of devoted and passionate people. However, I would have to say that industry veteran Tom might be one of the most actively committed people that I have met in supporting and protecting the hospitality industry. What he has achieved so far is inspiring!

In our interview below, Tom discusses how his passion and dedication to the hospitality industry, led to creating the not for profit spirit brand Hospitality Gin and the current and future projects he is working on to continue to support the industry.

What is your background?

I’ve worked in hospitality since the age of eighteen and I’ve done a little bit of everything. From starting as a glass collector, to working on social media and accounts, to managing independent and large venues.

Just as Covid – 19 hit, I was about to branch out on my own as a hospitality consultant and I was also involved in another project supporting my local bars. However, as soon as Covid hit, none of my projects were viable options anymore, although I was lucky enough to be furloughed from my old job.

At the beginning of lockdown, when it became very clear that the hospitality industry was going to be badly affected by the pandemic, myself and a group of hospitality professionals came together from all over the UK. Our aim was to coordinate our responses, ensuring that we are providing guidance and advice in a timely manner that hospitality workers could understand and follow. We have helped thousands of people which is amazing, and we are still helping huge numbers of people with the development of current new guidelines.

How did you come up with the idea for Hospitality Gin?

It was great being able to support the hospitality industry with advice and guidance, however, I still felt that I could do something bigger and more long term. Although what we were doing for hospitality was good, it did not help to provide financial support to hospitality venues.

I am currently doing my WSET Level 3 in spirits, and it was while studying for this, that I came up with the idea for Hospitality Gin and to launch a not for profit spirit brand. It all happened quickly, I started speaking to some distilleries and within a couple of weeks we had our first order placed and within ten weeks I had the first gin physically in my hands.

Why was Gin your spirit of choice?

I first had the idea sitting in my garden on a Sunday afternoon. Gin was always going to be a good choice due to its growing popularity. I decided on gin because it is an un-aged spirit and I could get it to market quickly in comparison to other spirits. As the spirit exists to support the UK drinks industry, I wanted to have everything made and sourced from the UK. Cooper King Distillery were the perfect fit and they were fully on board with the idea and aims of what we were trying to achieve.

I wanted a high quality gin with strong flavours, that would be as appealing to bartenders as it would to the general public. Hospitality Gin is a London dry gin, it’s old school with big flavours. It was also important that it needed to stand out in the marketplace. While the Gin’s message is about supporting the hospitality industry, it was also important that the hospitality industry could get behind the juice in the bottle as well.

Where is Hospitality Gin available to buy?

It is available on the Hospitality Gin website. It is also available on Master of Malt, The Spirit Store and also in several venues in Sheffield. It will also be in several venues in Manchester in the near future. I am also in talks with a few venues in London and some national chains. So, there are big and exciting things coming, but it is difficult at the moment and progress is much slower than I would like it to be. Venues are concentrating on their legal obligations to be able to open and less focused on menu development. For stocking enquiries, you can contact me at Tom@HospitalityGin.co.uk

What have been the successes of Hospitality Gin so far?

I have sold several hundred bottles so far with 100% of profits going towards supporting hospitality. Initially all the money we raise will go towards charities such as The Drinks Trust and Hospitality Action.

In the long term, I’m aiming to set up a dedicated hospitality fund to assist smaller charities and initiatives within the industry. Based on current forecasts we’ll be raising a minimum of £10,000 a year. What we have achieved has already gone far and beyond what I ever expected it to be, so who knows where we’ll be this time next year.

What upcoming projects are you working on?

I am currently working as a hospitality consultant now with several bars and I am still providing advice to people and businesses which is easily digestible. I am also working with a small charity in Manchester called So Let’s Talk, whose mission is to improve the mental health of hospitality workers and to discuss mental health issues in hospitality. This is something that the hospitality industry is not particularly good at and it is important to help people develop a work life balance and to stick with it.

In the background I’m a co-founder of the #CANCELTHECURFEW campaign, which aims to highlight the damage that the curfew is doing to our industry. It contains hospitality professionals from all over the UK who what to show how the impact will kill thousands of businesses and cause hundreds of thousands of job losses. We’re working with other trade bodies to lobby for the removal of the curfew and further financial support for affected business.

Finally, I also have a second product in the pipeline in the form of another gin. The style of this new gin is more contemporary. It’s still traditionally made and of high quality but is more of a “bartender’s gin” than a mass market appeal. Based on early tastings, I believe the new gin is a unique addition to the marketplace, and unlike anything out there at the moment.

You can also follow the Hospitality Gin Instagram Page and Facebook Page

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