Dutch Courage

When you start up a business or launch a product, one of the first things people like to ask is ‘what’s your USP?’ What makes your Gin, Florist, Taxi service, Cleaning company etc. better or different than any other? What makes you unique? And (more importantly I would say) do you know how to sell your product or service on that basis?

In such a crowded and increasingly quality Gin market, we knew we had to be different, but also knew that being different for the sake of it was not our thing. Crazy botanicals, wacky bottles etc. had been done (some very well!) but it wasn’t us.Ed had once told me a family story that related to William of Orange, and while reading some of the history of Gin I recalled this conversation. Ed couldn’t remember where this story had come from, or whether there was anything concrete in it, but there was definitely something there. I decided to follow up on this family legend when I returned home.

A 1920s family tree was dug out (thanks goodness for thorough record keeping Uncle David!) and I started work, tracing and verifying the family tree. The internet obviously helped and, within a few weeks, I had verified that 11 generation ago, a cousin of Ed’s side of the family had married William of Orange – the Dutch Prince who is widely known to be the one that brought Jenever (the predecessor of Gin) to England (more on the history lesson another time). The distant cousin was Mary II, the protestant daughter of James II. Overnight, we had not only a lovely family story, but a story intrinsically linking our family with the history of Gin – it was part of our ancestry and willed us to strive to do the best job we could in making our heritage part of our future. Being related to royalty was super cool too (especially for our 5 year old daughter!)

We worked hard trying to think of a name. We wanted it to be related to the Royal link, but didn’t want to sound fanciful, we liked the number of Generations that the history spanned, and the relevance to us and todays Royal Family – Prince William and Prince Harry are Generation 11 too!

We started calling the Gin Generation 11, and it sort of stuck – we hope that it creates conversation, questions for those who see it, that people who drink it will be interested in learning a bit more about the history of Gin; and that It’s modern look helps link the history to our contribution to the modern resurgence.