Now that was some weekend! Let us sit down with a nice cup of tea and rewind to last Monday when we were contacted by Julia at The Star at Night in Soho.
It transpires that this little boutique cocktail bar in Soho, London, was about to have its 9th birthday party and Oliver Twist London Distilled Gin ™ had been causing quite a prelaunch stir. Of course the first question Julia asked me over the phone was “where can I buy Oliver Twist London Distilled Gin in London?” and straight away we had a problem. We are still finalising the UK distribution agreements and were about to produce 250 cases that afternoon, 100 of which would find their way down to Guernsey for the Official Launch Party on Saturday 26th November 2011. So we put our thinking caps on and decided we couldn’t really manage getting over to London to launch Oliver Twist on the Friday night then fly back over to Guernsey and get straight into setting up for our 150 guests on Saturday night. Then Julia told us something very interesting. Her research showed that none other than Mr. Charles Dickens himself used to frequent the establishment back in the Victorian days. In fact the workhouse that inspired him to write is most famous novel Oliver Twist is located a mere half a mile straight down the road.
OK now we were interested. Oh, I forgot to also mention that Julia said she was turning Star at Night into a Gin Palace and would be running a dozen or so London Distilled Gin’s in competition against each other and if we really believed in our brand we should put our money where our mouths are and come along. Challenge accepted!
Friday came around quick enough and I found myself sat at Guernsey airport having some lunch in the café when I spotted Christopher, one of my many local Gin aficionados and somewhat prolific horse backer. He explained he was off to the football and I told him about my exciting little trip out to Soho with Oliver Twist. Like any good tipster he found me the perfect horse to back. Gin Twist, starting price of 8-1 running at 7.10 and it sounded too good not to back, so I texted the whole team and told them to bang £100.00 each on the nose.
Keiran texted me back to let me know that Mark from Bar Magazine would be attending the Star at Night to run an article on Oliver Twist, so now I had a two launches, a horse and interview to worry about on top of travelling to the Distillery picking up some Duty Paid cases and then delivering them to Julia before she opened for the party!
It transpires that I had nothing to worry about, well almost nothing! I collected the two cases as promised and took a Black Cab into the heart of Soho and after 10 minutes of coursing the sat nav., my driver found Star at Night. Straight away I knew this was the right place to launch our Gin in Soho. The main window had a 6ft wide “GIN PALACE” sign with a quaint Parisian speakeasy décor. I was greeted by Julia and Alex who made me very welcome. I could see the excitement in their eyes when the taxi driver kindly delivered my two cases of Oliver Twist through the door. I hadn’t even finished introducing myself properly when the tops of the cases were opened and Oliver Twist London Distilled Gin ™ in all its Icy Blue glory was being expertly poured behind the bar and I was presented with the very first UK pouring of an O.T.T and what a Gin and Tonic it was. I was even graciously asked if I was a Lime or Lemon man! Lime in case you were wondering.
Alex had gone to the trouble of dressing up as the girl from our original campaign poster complete with top hat, white shirt and black braces. It was a great alternative parody especially with her bright orange hair and fake Movember Tash. After finishing my O.T.T. Julia kindly gave me directions to my hotel in Covent Garden and I left to meet Etienne and Shaun at Covent Garden tube station. All that they had to do was turn up for 6’oclock so we could check in and get back to Star at Night for a 6.30 meeting with Mark and his friends from Bar Magazine. Well it transpires that they had some clearance problems at Gatwick airport and the Channel Islands arrival channel was jammed with a 1000 people all desperate to get in London for some pre Christmas shopping. I started to get into a panic. I didn’t have Marks telephone number so had to resort to phoning Keiran to ask him to kindly Tweet Bar Magazine of our impending lateness. I shouldn’t have worried though as Julia and Alex were taking great care of Mark whilst he waited, sampling an O.T.T or two.
By 7.15 we were sat down with Mark and his team discussing the virtues of Oliver Twist London Distilled Gin™. They loved it and promised to include us in their 42,000 distribution of the “Ones to Watch out for in 2012” publication.
We spent the rest of the night chatting to the clientele, who approached us all night after tasting Oliver Twist wanting to know more. “I love the citrus”, “Smooth” and my personal favourite “I’m not a big gin drinker but I’ve been on Oliver Twist all night and I love it” and this is just a snap shot of some of the incredible feed back we received.
Come 12’ish after Shaun and I had exhaustively been promoting Oliver Twist, along with Etienne taking photographs, we sat down for 10 minutes to toast our success. What happened next we could not have predicted in a million years. Julia and Alex had clandestinely printed the words that great Oliver number ‘Oom Pah Pah’ and handed the words out to the entire bar. Before we knew what was happening the stereo was cranked up and the whole bar stood up and sang along to the great musical number, toasting Oliver Twist London Distilled Gin ™. “There’s a little ditty, They’re singing in the city especially when they’ve been On the Gin”.
We don’t know the results of the Gin competition yet. Julia has promised to provide us with the official taking figures this week, however, we calculated that we out sold all the other more famous gins by 7-1. Talking of 7-1; Gin Twist romped it home and we all had a nice little earner to finish off the night!
Thank you Friday Night over and out.
The Gin Maestro – Oom pah pah