Today Nick Mosley interviews Katie Overton-Hart. Known in the industry as KOH – she is the founder and director of G&H Spirits. She says the brand’s personality is largely a reflection of “my own approach and my own attitudes: straightforward, confident, determined and uncompromising.”
In my 20 years as a consultant in the live events industry, I have traveled the world, met amazing people, and drunk amazing gins. I have always been passionate about my career and saw it more as a way of life than a job. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic and almost literally overnight it all stopped.
From long hours of often unsociable work and international travel, I found myself homebound and home schooled. As much as I loved being with my young family, I desperately missed my hectic professional life.
How did you get into the world of distillation? How did the idea for your business come about?
After months of half-heartedly applying for new jobs, I realized that I wanted to put all of my energy into a brand that I could truly believe in. The question was: which brand?
My favorite drink had always been gin and tonic. Having drunk G&T all over the world, I had developed a refined palate and expertise in recognizing the layering of plants. I decided I wanted to produce my own line of spirits, with a brand that would represent and reward people who balance a busy work schedule with family life.
Therefore, by working with an award-winning distiller, G&H Spirits was born.
Tell us about the inspiration for your three products; where do you produce?
I wanted to bring to the market an uncompromising and honest gin, which is why we use a minimal selection of quality herbs, rather than over complicating the tasting experience. Less is more and the botanical layering should speak for itself in an unpretentious format in all of our Initial Gins. Time is precious and quality is essential. These are the fundamental pillars of G&H Spirits.
Each gin had to be very different and easily identifiable. The name of each Initial Gin consists of a three letter abbreviation, inspired by the fact that I am universally known by my initials, KOH. The new range includes three gins for all occasions and all tastes; LDN is the brand’s signature London Dry; BST (British Summer Time) is a fresh, floral gin for lazy days in the garden; while OTG (Old Tom Gin) gives traditional Old Tom flavors a new and contemporary vibrancy and indulgence.
All three gins are distilled in a traditional copper still for authenticity and quality assurance. Not only do they look great, but each gin is award winning which speaks for itself.
In terms of provenance, do you use Sussex products? Is locality a key part of your brand?
Being an original Sussex girl, born and raised in Brighton, I am extremely passionate about where I live. I am currently based in Upper Beeding, just outside Steyning, but spent the first 35 years of my life in Brighton and Hove. What a privilege to live in such a beautiful place where we have hills on one side and the sea on the other. A lot of the plants have been inspired by plants found in the South Downs and as I live in the South Downs National Park my brand is really a very personal journey for me.
As a new business, why did you start at this time with the pressures on the hospitality industry and the changes in consumption habits?
Granted, the hospitality industry is under great pressure right now, but I come from an industry that literally died overnight during the pandemic, so in the face of that I really had nothing else to lose. Do I still have a hot sweat at night and question my own judgment about the choices I made? Sure, every day, but isn’t that every new business? Every day is a school day and I work with an amazing team who are as passionate as I am about the success of the business. The local Sussex community, both consumers and commerce have also been supportive and very receptive to receiving new products on the market – it’s a fun industry to work in and as a team we let’s all enjoy the trip.
What are your plans / hopes for the future?
I’m looking at where I am now compared to six months ago and can’t believe some of the decisions I’ve made before (the good, the bad and the ugly). I know I will feel the same in six months too. Although I am the founder of the company, I attribute the overall success to the incredible talented team I work with. I am proud to say that it is truly a team effort and that every contribution counts and counts. Together, we will develop the business and the range of spirits we offer, while maintaining the core G&H values of honesty, quality and an uncompromising approach at the heart of everything we do.
l Find out more at www.georgieandhenners.co.uk. G&H spirits can be sampled at the Bite Sussex Wine & Spirits Festival at the My Brighton hotel on Sunday 19 September.