Maxine Grant | Garden Shed Gin

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NAME Maxine Grant

AKA Ryan Grant’s Other Half

TIMES AROUND THE SUN 36

FROM Zambia, Africa

LIVE Glasgow, Scotland

ALL ABOUT BEING Creative – Empathetic – Loyal – Stubborn and a bit of a Perfectionist

JACK OF TRADES THEN I worked for about 9 years in the beauty industry for the award winning Salon, Zen Lifestyle in Edinburgh.

JACK OF TRADES NOW I am one of the founding members of the Garden Shed Drinks Company.  We currently distill Gin but have plans to make more spirits in the future! 

GIVE US THE LOW DOWN It was just meant to a bit of fun! One of my business partners Kirstin, is addicted to it though.

We wanted to make a Gin using some of the botanicals we could find in our back garden (hence the Blackberry, Lavender and Dandelion root).  Our recipe was actually born in the shed at the bottom of the garden.

Our friends and business partners Kirstin and Ruaridh were living with us at the time, after moving back from London, so we spent quite a few evenings experimenting.  It definitely started out as a bit of fun and we’re still having fun. We certainly didn’t anticipate it would go as well as it has though!

FILL US IN At the moment we use Eden Mill in St Andrews to distil our Gin.  We had hoped to try and keep it in the Garden Shed but there are strict regulations and planning permission which prevented us using the shed for commercial use.  

Our plan for the future is to have our own distillery and bring it back to Glasgow.  We hope to source our ingredients ethically and use some of our own home grown botanicals (although I’m not sure we could produce enough to satisfy the demand!). 

Our big thing is giving back to nature by supporting local environmental charities such as the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Trees4Scotland.  We donate a portion of our profits towards saving the bees and planting trees – hence our hashtag #plantingtreesandsavingbees

FROM THE SHED TO THE LOCAL We have a wholesalers license so we can sell our Gin on to distributors, bottle shops and direct to restaurants and bars.  Initially we dropped off samples around Glasgow and arranged meetings with business owners to follow it up.  We have slowly been introduced to more people in the drinks industry and we’re now being approached by business owners to take us on.  We definitely feel it’s important to establish a relationship with our customers so we aim to try and meet as many people as we can face-to-face.

MAKING SH!T HAPPEN Pretty much everything was an obstacle, turns out it’s not that easy to make your own alcohol and sell it! (legally anyway) It’s been a big learning curve (I won’t bore you with all the legislation) but totally worth it in the end!

WHERE TO NEXT We have plans in the pipeline to make other spirits but we want to focus on getting our Gin out there to the rest of the UK.  We believe we have a good product with a good story behind it so who knows, maybe we could end up being global, but we are just taking baby steps at the moment.

FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES Kirstin and Ruaridh lived with us for 5 months so most of our business meetings were had over dinner and wine.  The distilling and recipe creation was mainly the boys’ thing, although we were always available for tasting!  Kirstin and I do all the design, branding and packaging.  We’re both quite creative so we work well together.  I have a lot of creative ideas but don’t have the technical ability to make them come to life graphically and that’s where Kirstin is amazing!

FAVE DROP If it’s Garden Shed Gin then I’d mix it with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic.  I’m partial to a cocktail and have a bit of a sweet tooth so mixing it with Mediterranean Tonic hits the spot for me.  It brings out more of the florals too.

STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD Firstly I think our bottle really stands out.  Most Gins on the market have more of a modern minimalistic look whereas ours has a natural and earthy vibe in keeping with our garden origin.  People seem to love our backstory too and the fact that we give back to nature.   

IDEA – DREAM – REALITY Just go for it, there are always going to be hurdles and it’s a big learning curve, especially when you have no experience in whatever it is, but the hard work pays off and you end up with something you can be proud of.  Ours started out as a slightly drunken idea that you usually look back at and laugh about the next day.

DOTING WIFE OR INDEPENDENT WOMAN I’ve been a full time mummy and housewife for 2 years, which I have loved, but it feels good to be doing “adult stuff” again!

MAMA WORK-LIFE BALANCE The answer is I don’t know!  I genuinely have no idea where the days go sometimes. Between the toddler classes, grocery shopping, household chores and preparing dinner, there’s not much time left in the day.  I guess I’m a bit of a night owl so I tend to do a lot of my own stuff when everyone else is in bed and I can finally get some peace.

THE RUGBY LIFE HIGHS The girls! You make some incredible friends through rugby but unfortunately, a lot of them move away once their husband’s contracts are over.

RUGBY LIFE LOWS You don’t always have the ability to plan anything in advance as schedules change.  The boys could be told at a moment’s notice that they have some time off to go away, which was difficult when I was working, as my job required at least 6 weeks notice.  

The rugby season also runs through the festive period.  Ryan and I have been together for almost 10 years and in all that time he has never managed to spend a Christmas with me and my family in Zambia.

RUGBY FAN GAL MOMENT Probably when Ryan phoned me whilst on the Scotland tour in South Africa to tell me he’d been called up to join the British Lions.

RUGBY LIFE NEED TO KNOW You are a rugby widow for a lot of it!  Rugby generally comes first.  Luckily my daughter was born 2 weeks early, but she was due during the time Ryan was away at the World Cup training camp in France.  He probably would have missed her birth otherwise.  He left 3 days after Indie was born and only came home properly when she was about 4 months old after the world cup was over.  

It’s difficult for the boys too.  They have to choose between pursuing a childhood dream and being there for important moments in their family’s lives.   

FIVE YEARS FROM NOW 5 years ago I would’ve said I wouldn’t be living in Scotland anymore but now we’ve set up a business here it looks like we’re here for the long term.  I might just have to go on more beachy holidays to defrost and get my sun fix.

WISE WORDS OF WISDOM Live for moments not things.

LOVER OF Cheesecake!

WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU 

Website: www.thegardensheddrinkdco.com  

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