Hotel Supplier reporter sits for an interview with Co-Founder of Devils’ Row, Sam Williams, to discuss the story of Devils’ Row Gin.
How did Devils’ Row come to be? What was your inciting incident?
My Co-Founder, Jason, and I had been discussing the idea of starting a gin bar in East London, where we both live, for some time. Our vision was to source different gins from around the world and create unique tasting experiences.
However, with the onset of the pandemic, we realised that we needed to pivot our plans and focus on making something people could enjoy at home. We decided to create an exciting gin product that combined the best qualities of our favourite gins. Our goal was to produce a versatile gin that could be enjoyed straight or easily mixed into tonic and cocktails.
Our brand is rooted in and inspired by East London, where the idea for Devils’ Row was born. We knew from the very beginning that we wanted the brand to pay homage to the neighbourhoods Mile End and Whitechapel of East London which are well-known for their association with Jack the Ripper during the Victorian era. To reflect this history, we incorporated a Victorian stained-glass image of the tree of knowledge and the serpent from the story of Adam and Eve into the background of our label design. By linking the infamous sinners in mythological history to the area in London where we created Devils’ Row, we achieved a unique blend of history and mythology.
This approach also influenced our choice of botanicals, which include 13 distinct flavours, including the apple. The apple is famously associated with Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden, making it the perfect choice for our 13th botanical. Overall, our label design and botanical choices represent a balance between history, mythology, and contemporary gin-making techniques.
How would you describe the taste of Devils’ Row Gin?
Devils’ Row offers a distinct flavour that remains approachable to traditional gin drinkers. Devils’ Row gin has a zesty taste profile that comes from a carefully selected blend of botanicals. These include grapefruit peels, coriander, and lemon and orange peels sourced from Spain. To balance the aroma, we add cassia bark, and for a refreshing taste, we steep cucumber for 24 hours. Together, these botanicals create a fresh and flavourful gin that is perfect for sipping on its own or as a component in a variety of cocktails.
How is Devils’ Row elevating the luxury guest experience?
Devils’ Row gin has already made its mark in the industry, being featured at a number of the World’s Top 50 bars. With its well-balanced flavour profile and unique incorporation of apple, it has become a favoured ingredient for bartenders looking to create innovative and refreshing cocktails. It has taken its place among the greats of the gin industry and continues to gain popularity as more and more people discover its distinctive taste.
Talk us through your developmental process- from initial idea to
production and beyond!
The pandemic presented both obstacles and opportunities for our business. Despite the challenges, we were fortunate to connect with an exceptional designer, Nick Nieto, who had previously designed for major drinks companies like Diageo (Johnnie Walker whiskey). Nick was looking for a new project and took the lead in designing our brand. After our initial
briefing, he provided six distinct designs, each of which we could have used. Nick worked closely with us to elevate our branding and story, creating slogans, typography, and colour schemes that are now integral to our entire business. He also ensured that our designs were adaptable for future products and flavours, allowing us to maintain consistency across
During the pandemic, we approached the taste design process in a unique way. Along with a group of friends, we conducted blind taste tests of various premium gins via Zoom. We evaluated each gin based on appearance, aroma, tasting notes, texture, and overall impression. This was a fun and enjoyable part of the process, and our opinions were generally aligned. Through this process, we gained a better understanding of the flavour profile we wanted to approach a distillery with.
Securing a distillery to work with a new company was a challenging task, but the pandemic actually worked in our favour. Typically, starting an alcohol company would require large initial orders, which can be quite restrictive. However, due to the slowing down of many businesses during the pandemic, we were able to strike a deal with a distillery that we still work with today. With their help, we were able to elevate our flavour profile from a home tasting to a premium level drink. As we were still in lockdown during the flavour development process, we had to rely on samples being sent back and forth through the mail. It took several attempts, but in August 2020, we finally received a small 200ml bottle of the product that we knew was truly exceptional. This special product is what we use in every bottle of Devils’ Row gin today.
What is your proudest achievement at Devils’ Row?
We consider our first award win to be our proudest moment. We worked tirelessly to finalise our flavour profile, design and print the labels, ship the bottles, blend the product, and send our gin to the World Gin Awards in record time.
In our debut year, we received a bronze medal in the compound gin category, placing second in the UK only to a major brand. This was just the beginning, as we have since garnered additional awards from esteemed competitions such as the Business Spirits Competition, World Gin Awards, and London Spirits Competition.
What’s next for Devils’ Row? What are you currently working on?
In the past year, we launched our first ready-to-drink product – Sin in a Tin, which is made with our award-winning gin. We worked with a UK manufacturer to develop a refreshing tonic flavour that perfectly complements our gin.
Our goal was to create a fully recyclable product that can compete with the top RTDs available. Our Sin in a Tin has one of the lowest calorie counts among G&Ts on the market, with only 90 calories per can. This year is particularly exciting for us as we have major festivals lined up, with some already completed.
Click here to find out more about Devils’ Row.