Wales’s very own land of fire, ice and legend has given its name to one of the newest drinks to be launched onto the booming gin market.
Snowdonia Gin is crafted by master distillers using water from the mountains of Gwynedd and a host of flavours found on their slopes and valleys.
The recipe was inspired by the wealth of rich local botanicals, such as bark from Welsh oak, juniper which grows wild across the region and plum as a homage to the Denbigh plum which originated in the nearby Vale of Clwyd.
The men behind the spirit are two friends and active outdoor sports enthusiasts from university days whose own love affair with North Wales has grown as they took to the hills to hike and bike Snowdonia’s spectacular scenery over many years.
Iain Boyd and Mike Trevena, both from design and marketing backgrounds, hit on the idea of the gin, with its rich and diverse flavours, as they were walking in the Snowdonia hills.
After three years painstaking work crafting Eryri Snowdonia Gin – Eryri is the Welsh name for the region – with the help of specialist spirit distillers, Quintessential Brands, its distinctive bottle is now on the shelves of shops and bars from its native North Wales to London.
Iain said: “We were walking in Snowdonia when we came up with the idea and we realised the model was right for us.
“At that time there were only two or three specialist Welsh spirit producers who were creating very unique quality flavours and we also wanted to produce a quality spirit that embraced the rich offerings of the Snowdonia region so we set about researching the botanicals and recipe for a Snowdonia gin.
“We wanted to create a superior product and a business we could be part of, which we could add to and which would be sustainable and would reflect this area which we both love.
“You could set up a still here in the mountains, using only locally sourced ingredients, but then you might struggle to achieve the consistency of supply and quality of ingredients, which is key, especially as the business develops.
“The Denbigh plum is a case in point, where this year the harsh cold spring and very dry hot summer has left a severe shortage of plums to harvest.
“That’s what took us to Quintessential who saw the potential of the idea and worked with us. They are truly world class distillers, with over 250 years of experience in quality spirit innovation.
“With their team we were able to create and refine the spirit recipe to one that was both sustainable and a really great taste. We are very pleased with the final result.
“You never regret buying quality and that’s what we have aimed to create and while it’s been fantastic fun, it’s been deadly serious as well.”
Mike added: “It’s all about the taste. We have worked very hard over three years to refine the gin – there’s been a lot of tasting, a real labour of love, but the method we have chosen means we can achieve a consistency of flavour and a consistency of quality at every level, especially as we grow.
“It also means we can scale up very quickly to meet demand without compromise which would be very difficult to do if we were a small scale operation.”
Gin is now a £1.6 billion industry in the UK, with over 300 distilleries. Sixty million bottles of gin were sold in the UK in the year ending June 2018 – enough for 1.7 billion gin and tonics, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).
Much of that new demand is for the artisan-style market that Snowdonia Gin is aimed at, where sales were up 167 per cent, compared with a 30 per cent increase for the big name brands.
Iain and Mike, with their backgrounds in design, have also paid attention to the look of the bottle which is inspired by Welsh culture with silver Celtic banding and reference to ‘Afanc’, the legendary water monster of Llyn Glaslyn at the foot of Snowdon.
Their Snowdonia heritage statement in a bold red strapline around the bottle reads ‘Born out of fire, sculpted by ice, shrouded in legend’ while on the reverse of the label and visible through the bottle is a specially commissioned painting of Snowdon by renowned landscape artist Alan Rankle.
Already their first production run is sold out and discerning consumers are now snapping up the second round, with production now doubled.
It is widely available across North Wales in quality food and drink outlets as well as hundreds of great pubs, bars and restaurants.
Iain added: “Snowdonia Gin is a celebration of the heritage of Snowdonia and we are passionate about protecting and conserving that heritage and all it offers for future generations.
“Snowdonia is a brand which is known worldwide and we want to be faithful to that brand and what it stands for. Sales of Snowdonia gin are also promoting and exporting the Snowdonia story and that’s really great.
“Our goal, as a new small business, is to forge partnerships with other local businesses, especially in retail, tourism and leisure, helping to improve sustainability within the local economy.”
For more about Snowdonia Gin go to