Celebrating Our Strawberry Gin: The Journey So Far

It seems like just yesterday that we reviewed a bottle of Sloemotion gin… In fact, it was over a year ago! Fast forward to now and we’ve already sold thousands of bottles of our very own Strawberry Gin Liqueur across the UK – it has GINuinely (come on, it had to be done!) been an incredible journey. Last summer started with a large rise in strawberry growth; the fruit was perfect. However, in typical UK fashion, the sun quickly disappeared causing a potential for wastage. BBQs, picnics, and Pimms were quickly forgotten about – Wimbledon was also cancelled that summer due to Covid-19. But, this is where we came in! 

By teaming up with the awesome Sloemotion Distillery team and Annabel Makin-Jones from her ‘Deliciously British’ Yorkshire farm, we crafted our food-waste-fighting drink using those surplus, saved and frozen strawberries. Where did our gin journey begin and how did we end up partnering with the award-winning Sloemotion Distillery we hear you asking? You guessed it… Obviously, Ebbers had something to do with it! It was not only the flavours that captured his heart and tastebuds, but also the great story that comes with it.

Sloemotion is an artisan business that creates spirits and liqueurs in Malton, Yorkshire’s food capital, founded in 2002. Funnily enough, the idea for the company was stumbled upon by accident. A farming initiative to improve the habitats for wildlife ended up taking a delicious turn – the hedgerows became home to an abundance of sloes, aka small blue-back berries. It was then that the idea for the gin liqueurs, a business founded by Joff Curtoys, came to fruition… Quite literally!

Now more than ever, it’s fair to say that sustainability is a crucial element in the success of upcoming businesses. Some even argue that sustainability isn’t enough… It’s got to be regenerative to build back what’s been lost. The Climate Crisis and the unseasonably warm, dry summer we’ve experienced have highlighted this! Thankfully, according to Forbes, today’s generation – that’s you lot, the Sorted Food community – is emerging to be the most environmentally conscious yet! One of the many things that we love about Sloemotion is that sustainability is at the heart of everything they do. As stated on their website and from our chats with Joff, it is clear that minimising their impact on the planet is not simply a marketing fad for them. This was implemented at the very start of their journey over 20 years ago! 

Having been around for so long and with the botanicals and fruit for their gins being super weather dependent, we’ve been wondering, how has the UK’s recent heatwave affected Sloemotion’s hedgerows? Usually, when the sun finally starts peaking its way through, in classic British style, many of us want to soak up as much as possible. It could still be cold, but driving hours to the beach is a must (accompanied by still complaining about the weather at some point)! This year however, things were significantly different as the 40 degree weather broke temperature records. This left a ton of things, especially travel, severely affected, with warnings to stay home being heavily advised.

It’s also been reported that the scorching weather has caused fear amongst farmers, as loss of fruit and veg crop reached an all-time high in July – which is considered to be the pinnacle of berry season! Whilst warm weather is fantastic for growth, too much of it, as with anything, can be a huge problem. A loss of greenery has been spotted all around; Joff noticed that a few of his trees on the site also began to suffer under the intense heat.

In fact, the very nature of Sloemotion’s work to rewild borders and increase bird, bee, moth and butterfly populations was at risk from this. It can be easy to forget that they are hard at work in our ecosystem to keep pests at bay and pollinate the majority of the crops that provide the food we eat! In the hot weather, whilst we can treat ourselves to a cold drink from the fridge… The birds and the bees can’t. Joff and his team would fill the parched and sun-baked potholes on the farm tracks with water. Whilst nervous to approach at first, the birds soon learned that this was their much-needed saviour!    

Having said this, not all is doom and gloom… Even during these challenging times, Joff has found little gems of positivity to share. Although drought related restrictions have lessened grass growth, Sloemotion have had stunning wild meadows blooming all around the site. Luckily for the Sloemotion team, the distillery is actually the coolest place to be – plenty of water and frozen fruits made their rounds to keep everyone going! 

So… A question remains: have you given our delicious Strawberry Gin a try yet? Grab it here just in time for your bank holiday plans – whether that be picnics galore, BBQs or simply putting your feet up in front of a Netflix screen. Don’t forget to tag us in your pictures on IG or Twitter and let us know your thoughts, we can’t wait to see what you got up to!

*Please remember to drink responsibly*