What the Thompson brothers at St Ives Liquor Co don’t know about standout spirits is probably not worth knowing. Having owned The Searoom in St Ives, and seen their fair share of drink consumption, they decided to embark on a new adventure of crafting their own unique gins and liquors. Taking inspiration from their beautiful home harbour and countryside, they focused on using local ingredients and becoming the first cold compound gin distillery in the county. Even with their roots firmly in Cornish soil, they don’t shy away from experimenting with exotic ingredients, from beautiful blood orange gins to lemon liquors. Welcome to the undercurrent of the Cornish spirit scene.
What made you decide to start Saint Ives Liquor Co., and what's the inspiration behind it?
St.Ives Liquor Co began life the same way all good things start, in a bar. Luckily though the bar in question was ours, The Searoom in St Ives. After five years running the place and serving many, many drinks along the way, we thought it was high time to stop buying in the same generic brands and create a new one of our own - that signified what we stood for. A year and many late nights planning later, our first batch of St Ives Gin hit the shelves.
What did you do before creating Saint Ives Liquor Co.?
Before all this started, we barely left our bar. It's rewarding, but it's endless, so it's quite nice to get out now from time to time and talk all things alcohol in a slightly calmer environment.
How are the liquors made, what are the ingredients and where are they sourced from?
When we launched three years ago, there were already several fantastic Cornish gins available, with producers from our small county showcasing some of the best examples of small scale distilling in the UK. For this reason, we opted for a riskier but unique production method and became the first commercially produced cold compound gin in the county. At a time when gins were meant to be clear, our golden-hued original St Ives Gin caused a stir. We use fresh botanicals wherever possible and the abundance of ingredients right here on our doorstep. Gorse flowers from the local moors and cliffs, bladderwrack seaweed from the local beaches, and an array of herbs, fruits, and flowers are all found here in Cornwall. Neither our approach nor our products are normal, but normal is rarely interesting.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I guess it all began growing up in this beautiful part of the world where we call home. St Ives has its crazy times, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Finding inspiration in a place like this isn't hard; turning that inspiration into something tangible is where it gets interesting, but we're pretty pleased with our attempts so far.
What have been the biggest challenges/achievements, or your favourite story on your journey so far?
We're probably most proud of our partnership with eco-start-up Rising Forests. Last year, together with Rising Forests, we helped plant over 6,000 trees within the UK. This partnership is still going strong, and for every bottle of St Ives Gin purchased from The Searoom in St Ives, we fund the planting of another tree in the UK.
How would you describe Saint Ives Liquor Co. in three words?
Innovative, Bold, Original
What's your favourite liquor from your range?
You'll split the pack here; ninety percent of the time I go for Original St Ives Gin, Greg is a Blood Orange kind of guy, and Bertie, well, judging by his consumption rate, I think Bertie likes them all.
What is your connection to Cornwall?
We've lived here all of our lives, our parents lived here, and their parents lived here. We've been other places of course, but we always end up coming back.
Do you have a special spot in Cornwall that inspires you?
We grew up in a small village just outside St Ives called Zennor. It is a place full of folklore and smugglers and is home to some of the most incredible coastline you'll ever see.
What's next / any exciting plans?
One thing you learn in this industry is you can't stand still. If you stand still, you get left behind. While our plans for new releases this year have been put on hold, 2021 is looking to be an exciting year for us, and while we're not going to blow the surprise just yet, be sure we've got some new creations up our sleeves that will be hitting the shelves before too long, and we cant wait for you to try them.
Shop St Ives Liquor Co here.