ENTREPRENEUR’S Shipyard Gin Honours Wine-Making, Plater Grandfather

19 October, 2021 | Local

A GIN that celebrates Inverclyde’s shipbuilding past has been launched in Gourock.

Shipyard Gin, based at the old Municipal Buildings, is the brainchild of Greenock-born Andy Samuel (37).

His grandfather John Samuel worked in the shipyards in the 1930s and 40s as a plater, and, as a hobby, would make wine from locally collected berries and flowers, including elderberries, for friends and family.

“I’m Inverclyde born and bred and have always had a fascination with the shipyards,” Andy said. “When we were younger, we used to go out with my grandpa to pick berries. These are now the botanicals we’re putting into the gin.”

Gorse, elderflower and heather are all abundant locally and are three of the main botanicals in Shipyard Gin.

“The gorse gives a vanilla, coconutty essence which is a very faint and delicate flavour,” Andy explained. “The elderflower gives a sweet note that complements the gorse. The heather is almost floral, but also very faint and ties everything together.”

Starting Shipyard Gin has been a life’s dream –- and lockdown presented the opportunity when Andy’s existing business with a colleague as a wedding filmmaker was put on pause.

“It’s a pipe dream I’ve had for a long time, but I never thought it would turn into reality,” Andy said.

“As wedding filmmakers, our business just dropped off a cliff when covid hit, and we went from 38 weddings to only filming two last year. I realised this was a great opportunity to start Shipyard Gin because I had lots of time on my hands. So, I started looking into it and now it’s launched.”

Andy and his head distiller Lewis Scothern developed the recipe over six months and three trial distillations.

Andy said: “I started looking at different flavour combinations using the same botanicals that my grandfather used in his wine, and by some beautiful serendipity, they all managed to go together quite well. The only thing we had to change was to use elderflower instead of elderberries.”

Shipyard Gin is 44 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume) and is bottled in distinctive octagonal bottles which represent the bow of a ship.

Andy’s ambition is eventually to open a local micro distillery. He said: “This would hopefully become a tourist attraction and could run tours that highlight the heritage of the shipyards.”

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