15 Minutes with Salcombe Gin
4 September 2019
You probably already know that here at Crew, we’re rather partial to an ice cold Salcombe Gin, served with Fever-Tree tonic and a slice of grapefruit. In fact, when it strikes 5pm on a Friday, there’s nothing we’d rather be drinking. To us, a well-deserved G&T after a long day is one of life’s best moments.
In this exclusive interview, let us introduce you to Salcombe Gin’s very own Angus Lugsdin – master of flavour, chief taster and co-founder of this brand that we’re so proud to be partners with. While on shoot in our hometown, we sat down with Angus to find out all about his two great loves: Salcombe and gin.
ANGUS, AT WHAT POINT DID YOU THINK IM GOING TO BECOME A GIN-SMITH?
I’ve had a longstanding passion for single malt whisky for… too long. That led to an interest in distillation as a process and it kind of went from there. I persuaded a few people in Scotland to take me under their wing and spent some time up at Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown learning to distil, which was absolutely fascinating! I came away more enthused than when I went in and that was the seed sown.
I wrote down a list of all the pros and cons of starting up your own business and people I could work with. One of the people on that list was my business partner, Howard. We met teaching sailing here in Salcombe in our late teens at a place called the Island Cruising Club. We both moved back to Devon around the same time and came up with the idea for Salcombe Gin over our shared love: a G&T.
Salcombe and gin are a match made in heaven, we couldn’t believe no one had ever done it…
SALCOMBE IS AN ENTREPRENEURIAL HUB, LOTS OF RECOGNISED BRANDS STARTED HERE. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
Salcombe has a very rich history, not just for entrepreneurial brands, but in trade. Back in the 19th century, Salcombe was home to the Salcombe fruiters. These schooner sailing vessels brought in about 80% of citrus fruit and spices into England – so I think it’s a little bit driven by that age-old tradition of a bit of adventure and trade and it’s a beautiful part of the world to live. For a lot of people, it’s all about earning a living and that dictates where you’re going to be. I think there’s a slightly different mindset down here, this is where I want to be and I’m going to figure out how to make it work.
“For our citrus we don’t use dry peels, we use fresh which we peel by hand every morning prior to distillation”
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE INFUSION THAT NEVER MADE IT TO THE BOTTLE?
We create gins just for cocktails in the bar. Our espresso martini is made using gin. We distil it just for that (instead of vodka) with fresh coffee beans, vanilla and cocoa in there, as well your traditional juniper. We’ve also done things like double strawberry and pink pepper corn gin which we did specifically for Wimbledon a couple of years ago. These are never sold by the bottle, but they are created and used in cocktails so we’re always able to provide something that you can’t get anywhere else.
LOOKING BACK AT WHERE YOU STARTED AND WHERE YOU ARE NOW, WHAT’S BEEN YOUR HIGHLIGHT?
The best thing is converting people that say ‘I don’t really like gin’. The other is when you go to bars and restaurants around the country and see your own product on the shelf; and if you ask a member of staff for a recommendation and they say Salcombe Gin… that brings a big smile.
WHAT DO YOU DRINK WHEN YOU’RE NOT DRINKING YOUR OWN GIN?
I do like my cocktails or I’m perfectly happy with a nice glass of red wine in my hand. Things with flavor...
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE CREW ITEM IN YOUR WARDROBE?
I had a ’93 rugby and I’ve always worn Crew shirts over the years, but I think probably the polo shirts. I just love them, they wear really, really well and get better with age.
Next time you’re in Salcombe, make sure you grab a G&T at Salcombe Gin Distillery on Island Street.
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