As we toasted in the New Year, and decade, with a Papillon Gin & Tonic, we reflected on 2019.
We started the year at our first trade show, Source, which was the beginning of many good relationships throughout the year.
In March we won a Silver Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Given the scale of the competition and the size of our distillery, this was a big moment for us. Sadly it did not involve a trip to San Francisco.
Shows and events started at Easter time and continued through to Christmas. The Head Distiller enjoyed many terrier races in 2019 and showed some real potential. This year he understood the need to chase the lure and not get distracted by other dogs. Maybe a Papillon racing vest will feature in 2020.
In May we launched our Navy strength gin - The Admiral. This took several months of development and the final recipe features navelwort, commonly found on Dartmoor drystone walls, and nettles, the food plant for the Red Admiral caterpillars. We distill it with fresh lemon and lime peel and fruit so it has a citrus start with a clean finish. The Admiral has been received well and is proving to be a popular choice. It is particularly good in cocktails.
We achieved a Gold in the Taste of the West Awards and were then informed we had made the final cut for the Champion Award. Given the stiff competition we were up against we were chuffed to bits when it was announced Papillon had won Champion. The Taste of the West judges’ tasting notes describe Papillon Gin as ‘A unique gin from the first sip to the lovely long, complex finish. An absolutely excellent, beautifully sophisticated, untraditional, delicious gin’.
In amongst the busy summer shows we were blown away to be awarded a Gold medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition. There were 750 entires in the gin category and we were one of the 32 gold medal winners. Founded in 1969, the IWSC is considered to be the most prestigious competition of its kind in the world. Judging for the competition’s awards has two stages; first, the products are tasted blind by expert panels, selected from over 400 fully experienced and qualified industry judges. Gold medal winning wines and spirits are then subject to technical analysis before results are released; this crucial stage ensures winners receive complete validation.The IWSC judges’ tasting notes describe Papillon Gin as ‘An exciting and invigorating nose of bright lemon and lemongrass with a touch of ginger. A well-made and well-integrated gin with light, but lasting juniper on the finish’.
To complete a superb year for awards, Papillon Gin achieved a Gold at the Food Drink Devon Awards in October.
Team Papillon grew this year. Daisy has joined us to work in the distillery and Nadia is out and about managing sales. Both new members have been approved by the Head Distiller.
In November we launched our Miniature Gift Boxes - a 5cl bottle each of Papillon and The Admiral. Studio de Ville yet again did a lovely job with the design, and our boxes look very stylish and attractive. As many of the gift box components as possible were locally sourced, and we think it was a job well done. The design work happens in Moretonhampstead by www.wearedeville.co.uk, the bottle labels are printed in Torquay by www.inkreadible.com, the sleeve is printed in Exeter by www.ashleyhouse.co.uk, and the boxes are made in Barnstaple by www.atlaspackaging.co.uk. A Devon collaboration!
The gift boxes arrived in time to take them to the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC Birmingham. This was our first event outside of Devon. We had a great time!
It is now 2020 and time for looking forward. What will this year bring? New products are in development...