Liquid asset: Justin O’Shea spills on his Goldy Gin project
What happens when you mix one part fashion dude with one part Sydney restaurateur and one part London mixologist? A bottle of Goldy Gin, it seems - delivered to you by good mates (and self-confessed bogans) Justin O'Shea and Maurice Terzini. While Justin is a Fashion Week regular who's widely known for his fashion credentials, as is Ten Pieces co-founder Terzini (also of Icebergs Dining Room & Bar and The Dolphin fame), both readily admit that spirits were a whole new ball game. So that's why they enlisted the brains of molecular mixologist Tony Conigliaro, the proprietor of London cocktails bars 69 Colebrooke Row, Bar Termini and Untitled.
Described by O'Shea as "basic and straight to the point", Gold Gin is being touted as a smooth-tasting gin without a complicated marketing campaign. But despite Goldy's co-called modesty, there's nothing casual about some of its worldwide partners. Thanks to friends in high places, Goldy's partners include legendary bars like Paris' Hemingway Bar at The Ritz and cool-kid spot London's Chiltern Firehouse, which means the fledgling brand will already have a considerable leg up in the market. Cheers.
Here, we chat to Justin about Goldy Gin's inception.
Firstly, why gin, above all other spirits?
I actually started drinking gin when I was working in the mines in Nhulunbuy. I was trying to stay off the dark spirits and one day one of the boys had a UDL Gin tonic which I tasted and thought that it was pretty good. After that I just kept drinking Gin and never looked back. I don't think that is a really cool answer! Ha ha.
After the idea, how did you start the process of actually developing and manufacturing?
A lot of 'tastings'! Ha ha. Wow, the development process was awesome but nearly killed me. But seriously, the process was pretty nerdy and technical. Tony, the mixologist who helped me develop the gin, is a wizard. We worked pretty intensively to find the exact balance of ingredients through multiple distilling techniques. But long story short, we drank a lot and finally hit the right formula.
You've partnered with some impressive worldwide venues - can you explain the reasoning behind picking a couple of your fave places like Hemingway Bar and London's Chiltern Firehouse?
The Hemingway Bar was the first posh bar I ever went to. Or was let in to, probably. Colin Field, the infamous bar director, was always super nice to me from day one and I was always surprised how such a luxurious place could be so cool and welcoming. We became friends and now it's just like my second home.
The Chiltern is kind of the same story. I have been staying there for the past year or so pretty extensively and it is my fave hotel in the world. The bar is amazing and the people are the best. I actually considered trying to live there instead of getting an apartment. But unfortunately I am not that rich! Ha.
Did you know much about producing spirits before you started or was this a totally new endeavour?
I had no idea. Literally none. And if I had known there is no way I would have done it. Shit, it's bloody complicated!
You're known for your fashion background - how important were the design elements - logo, bottle design etc - to you?
I think the label and bottle was designed in my head before I even started on the formula. The identity and image is what makes GOLDY different from other brands. So this part of it was extremely important.
What sets Goldy apart from other gin brands?
Not a lot. It's just a bit cooler than other gin brands. Not so focused on how many botanicals and trying to impress people with all the blah blah. It's just a pretty straight forward, powerful, tasty gin. It's not expensive and it's for everyone.
How was it working with your mate Maurice Terzini - how did his hospitality experience aid the process?
It has been pretty bloody enjoyable. He is a legend and it's been great working together for the Oz launch. I started this company to have fun and do something special. He immediately got the vibe. He also knows so much that I know nothing about. So his insights are invaluable.
Goldy Gin launches in Australia this Thursday with an exclusive party at Sydney's The Dolphin. Visit goldy-gin.com
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