Fresh start and new perspectives

We explain more about our move from Gin Foundry to Spirits Beacon.

Welcome to our new home! After a year of lockdown, Gin Foundry has evolved into Spirits Beacon.

Our editor Olivier Ward explains why we made the move…

As it has been for many, 2020 may have been the longest year of my life. Having a newborn really makes you fully appreciate the full length of all those hours in the dead of night, and just how long 7 minutes can feel when someone’s yell is curdling in your ear… 

It has also been one of the busiest, despite feeling like a long hibernation from public life, the work going into building solid foundations for Spirits Kiosk and this, a fresh start and the next chapter in the Gin Foundry story has been an all-consuming process.

The question I am asked most often is why Gin Foundry is no longer just about gin and why have we changed the name.

Put simply, it’s about curiosity and a need to keep learning. Both have been a driving factor at the heart of a decade long quest into understanding spirits and sharing that passion with others. 

Gin is and will likely always be my personal obsession. It is to me far more than a spirit. I regard it as an art form, a liquid that has the unique ability to capture an infinite array of possibilities and emotions.

Gin’s story is bigger than just the category now and, in my opinion, to cover it in new ways one must look at the broader context it sits in. That wasn’t the case even five years ago when gin’s accent, it’s direction and what influenced it came from within. 

More and more, it is very difficult to tell the full story of a product or a distillery without delving into other spirits. As the monoculture around gin-only distilleries expands and ranges diversify, other spirits are playing an ever-growing role in shaping the category and the way distillers operate. 

So often now you have to delve into other categories to provide background and explain why something is the way it is, what motivates the makers and, in its fullest sense, what they are trying to achieve. We’re curious to showcase that bigger picture for its own merit, as well as in order to present their gin in an insightful and wholistic way.

Over a decade I’ve written about hundreds of topics on the category.  It has always been clear that speaking to a gin audience from the perspective of a gin fan will always require creative thinking to find ways to uncover new subjects and keep learning. 

What became apparent to me over the last two years is that even if I did only want to tell the story of gin, in order to keep finding new ways I would need a wider lens and new angles to glean insight from. By placing gin side by side with other spirits it is possible to explore different areas and different perspectives. To do that however, we needed a broader, multi-spirit platform.

My own desire to learn more and own curiosity aside, Gin Foundry is like all publications. We are here to entertain and educate. Placing the reader first is paramount to delivering that. The reality is that most drinkers have a broader interest than just one spirit, and a reluctance to dig around dozens of places to fulfil it. 

Spirits feel tribal, with categories each having their devoted groups of enthusiasts. Because that’s the obvious common denominator, drinks writing gets fragmented with borders drawn around individual categories in order to cater to groups of fans. Look closer and those communities however and they aren’t as set as you think. There is far more in common between them than there are differences.

Ask drinkers why they are so into their chosen spirit and often you’ll hear that it’s about more than just distilled flavour or a base ingredient. Their interest lies in the people who make it, the place it comes from, the process it goes through and passion that goes into them. This binds all categories. 

This undercurrent has always been what we have pursued when presenting gin. Including other categories is less about ‘other’ spirits per se, but a continuation of that pursuit and a desire to continue exploring the narratives that infatuates all booze hounds alike – what lies beyond the liquid and what ideas have been imbued into it. 

We now have the freedom to follow those stories and share them, irrespective of which category they take liquid form in. 

Call it a year of pandemic if you will, but between a personal craving to learn and be inquisitive once more and need to gain a fresh perspective on a fundamentally different category to when we started, we were searching for a new path. Combine this with a renewed desire to focus on what bonds us all as drinkers rather than operate in isolated bubbles and the choice was made. 

We decided to build something different rather than merely re-fresh what we had done to date and changed our name to reflect this fresh start. 

Welcome to Spirits Beacon!

By Olivier Ward

21 March 2021