Disrupting the Gin Category

Creating a brand that harnesses the imagination of an untapped & underground community

Challenge

Gin was having its moment in the sunlight, and new entrants were coming in thick & fast, but there was one major problem, they were all competing on the same features - heritage, location & flavour. We set out to create a breakthrough gin in this sea of sameness.

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Approach

We knew there was an opportunity for a brand that could connect with a lifestyle, but we needed to define where that space was. So we went straight to the gatekeepers of the spirits category, the bartender community, and those living in the fringe culture. Through a deep analysis of interviews and ethnographic research, we could foresee cultural changes in attitudes toward sexuality, gender roles, and the on-premise landscape. We unearthed an untapped opportunity to create a culturally significant product deeply embedded in a lifestyle choice by celebrating fetishist artist John Willie through his character Sweet Gwendoline.

Sweet Gwendoline brings more to the table in a category that only focuses on provenance, process & flavour. It's a brand that captures the imagination, appealing to our desires and fantasies that we often repress.

Our insights revealed that the liquid needed to take centre stage. So we worked with bartenders and our master distiller to create a flavour profile that was as unique as the fringe culture that inspired it. The resulting bright liquid is infused with Figue de Solliès, a variety of fig grown in the South of France. The taste adventure starts with a sweet entry developed with juniper, citrus, pear, and green apple notes. The finish is a lithe and austere Blanc de Blancs Champagne wine made from Chardonnay grapes.

Since launching in 2022, bartenders and culture have embraced both the liquid and the brand, with 20,000 bottles sold.

Output

  • Brand, product, bottle & label creation
  • Launch plan
  • Distribution plan
  • Activation plan

Impact

  • Attracted an audience that embraces liberation through a provocative & highly differentiated gin brand
  • Now available in 11 cities and nine US states since launch in February 2022
  • Bartender acclaimed liquid profile
  • 20,000 bottles sold in the first year
  • Available for purchase in US here

“ The playfully risqué spirit of one of John Willie's greatest heroines has been brought to life in our own beautiful spirit. ”

Dita Von Teese