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Sweet Gwendoline

How Might We...

How Might We...

Represent an under-represented sub-culture to build a distinctive brand in a saturated market?


Gin was a saturated market with brands competing on the same features - heritage, location and flavour. The category distinctly lacked emotion, connection and community. Created by our Chief Growth Officer and Founder of Sweet Gwendoline, Larry McGearty, we set out to find the cultural connections that could build a brand and disrupt the category.


Larry knew there was an opportunity for a brand that could break free of the sea of sameness within the category and connect with a more liberating lifestyle, but we needed to define where that space was. So we went straight to those living in fringe cultures and the gatekeepers of the spirits category, the bartender community, to discover the insights to unlock the opportunity.

Through a deep analysis of interviews and ethnographic research, we could foresee cultural changes in attitudes toward sexuality and gender roles, especially with women looking for society to achieve a deeper level of consciousness in the realm of consent and women's lead role across the fetish and pleasure subculture. These insights unearthed an opportunity to create a culturally significant brand deeply embedded in that under-represented sub-culture, one that celebrates self-expression and liberation.

The brand came to life by partnering with Dita Von Teese, the global icon of this sub-culture, and championing the fetish artistry of John Willie by resurrecting the character 'Sweet Gwendoline'. John's artwork is respectfully brought back into the spotlight, from the bottle inspired by vintage perfume and corset construction to the peephole on the back label through which to view more artwork.

But the brand wasn't enough; it was clear from research that the liquid needed to take centre stage. So, we worked with bartenders and our master distiller to create a flavour profile as unique as the fringe culture that inspired it. The bright liquid is infused with Figue de Solliès, a variety of fig grown in the South of France, and it offers a full-body experience—starting with a sweet entry on the nose and palette, 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.

Sweet Gwendoline
Sweet Gwendoline
Sweet Gwendoline


Building and launching a brand from the (under)ground up requires you to answer the question, "Who is it for?" You can only do that by sitting alongside your audience, understanding their desires and seeing the world through their eyes so that you can truly define them. Only then can you connect your brand to culture and represent your audience authentically.


  • Bartender acclaimed liquid profile with a provocative and highly differentiated gin brand
  • Now available in 11 cities and 28 US states since launch in February 2022
  • 20,000 bottles sold in the first year
  • Available for purchase in the US

Client Quote

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, Co-Founder