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North42 is a naturally pink gin from Leicestershire that leaves a unique, smooth, fruity and everlasting flavour on the palate – but what is the story behind this bright pink bottle?
Sally Davis and Joanna Betts, the owners of award-winning Leicestershire based restaurant North Bar and Kitchen, crafted the gin back in 2019. Betts has worked in the hospitality sector over 15 years and has travelled around the world as a chef and hospitality manager, with an undeniable passion for food. Davis has always worked in the health and sports industry, particularly in regeneration through sport which Davis projects scoping, funding and project management for; but together they are the dream team behind the fabulous North42 brand.
So where did it all begin?
Back in 2014, Davis and Betts purchased a restaurant shell that needed a complete re-design. It was the perfect project to combine their dual skills and passions. Consequently, in February 2015 at No.42 (now you know where the name comes from) Hinckley Road in the heart of Leicester – The North Bar and Kitchen was born. Davis and Betts continued to explore the world together, and discover new and exciting gins to pair their culinary delights with.
From 2016, the North Bar and Kitchen became renowned in the East Midlands for stocking the finest gins around, and offering sensational tasting menus that paired perfectly with their exquisite gin cocktails. They then went on to win ‘Best New Business’ and ‘Best Restaurant’ at the Niche Awards in 2016 and 2017.
In 2017, Davis and Betts developed their love for gin further, by producing tasting boards for gins, gin mixers and different foods. The best-selling cocktail was their first ever cocktail they made at North Bar and Kitchen – the Rhubarb Tumble, and it gained a very popular reputation amongst the locals. It is even heard that other cocktail mixologists attended the restaurant as spies to find out how it was made…
The compliments kept coming, and praise for that Rhubarb Tumble got them thinking…let’s make our own gin.
Davis commented: “In 2019, Joanna and I started to discuss the possibilities of creating our very own gin. We’d been in the restaurant for four years and felt like a new project might introduce some new excitement. We knew that the flavours had to be rememberable and impactful alongside food, so that’s what we did, we created North42.
“We started to mix 100% natural ingredients together utilising Joanna’s expert palate for developing kitchen-based recipes, and worked alongside an award-winning distiller for their gin expertise and production. There were hundreds of iterations of the recipe, and lots of tweaking of ingredients until we found exactly what we were looking for – a blood orange and rhubarb, naturally pink, beautifully botanically balanced, zesty, memorable gin”.
The Crowdfunder was launched with a target of raising £10,000, but within 24 hours the ladies had already raised an impressive £4,225. Exactly one month later, and the amount raised was £12, 365 with over 103 supporters helping to fund the first bath of North42 Gin.
Davis and Betts were then invited to attend the NatWest Bank initiative ‘Back Her Business’ to promote Women Entrepreneurialism. Davis stood up in front of a room full of 600 women to tell the story above, and said, somewhat jokingly “I would love to sell North42 Gin to premium retailers such as Selfridges or Harrods”. Unbeknown to Davis, Sam Watts, general manager of Selfridges Birmingham was sat in the front row and immediately stood up and offered to stock North42 in store.
Davis commented: “It is all such a blur. I went to this event with very little expectations and walked out with our first retailer confirmed – the dream retailer. All this was achieved without even having to open a bottle for tasting. It was amazing serendipity and such a stroke of luck”.
A couple of months after this stroke of luck, and Davis and Betts’ North42 was launched at a popup event in Selfridges. The first person to purchase a bottle was, of course, Watts, the general manager – who else could it have been? The bottle sold out within its first weekend of being in-store, and Selfridges quickly contacted to say it wanted to stock it in its Manchester and London stores, plus online – dreams really had been met and Davis and Betts were overwhelmed by the response.
Since it’s exclusive launch at Selfridges, North42 Gin has been ranked for sales across all of the Selfridges stores ‘the 4th best-selling gin’ that it stocks, given pride of place for Valentine’s Day 2020 in its London store, and is now listed in over 500 establishments.
North42 can be purchased in all UK Selfridges stores or from their website. Alternatively, you can order directly from the North42 website or pick up your gifts when you visit the North Bar and Kitchen restaurant.