As I scrolled through my Facebook feed, a question caught my eye: ‘Has anyone ever sold a school gin?’ I kept thinking about how well that would work in our school, but I wasn’t sure if the PTA committee would agree. I pulled some figures together and rambled them out nervously at the end of the next meeting.
I needn’t have worried. ‘Sounds great,’ they said. ‘Go for it.’ So I spent a week researching different distilleries, emailing, phoning and getting quotes. From my first call to Hawkridge Distillers, I was confident I could pull it off!
Making it personal
Hawkridge gave us an excellent price for the gin. They also guided me through the intricate process of flavour combinations. The summer holidays weren’t far away, and I was running out of time, so Hawkridge suggested the PTA use a gin they had already created, and we could add our own flavours.
I thought about which flowers, fruit and plants grew in our village and settled on an elderflower and blackberry flavour. Hawkridge had combined these flavours in a previous gin and sent a sample which arrived the next day. It was delicious! My children and I collected elderflowers from around the village to send to the distillery, and Hawkridge provided the blackberries. We were also able to choose a bottle shape and create our own label with the help of the distillery’s designers.
Getting the word out
I started marketing the gin by telling people about it on our school and village WhatsApp groups, where I also took pre-orders. I set up a Spirit of Northchapel Gin Facebook and Instagram page and posted regular updates in the school newsletter.
I was incredibly nervous about getting our first order. We’re a small school of 56 children, three of whom are mine, and I wondered how many we would actually sell. I ordered 100 bottles, but with only three weeks to go before the summer holidays, I assumed I’d need a big push at Christmas. To my amazement, we sold 80 bottles before any had even arrived. The last 20 flew out too. People started approaching me to ask for more, so I placed a second order for 50 bottles.
Coming back for more
I’m surprised at how many people have bought our PTA gin a second time. They initially wanted to support the school but returned for more when they realised how good it tasted. The response has been incredibly positive and supportive. So far we’ve made £1,300.
- Nina Morgan, chair, Northchapel Parent Teacher Association, Northchapel, West Sussex (56 pupils)
PTA gin must be stored at a licensed premises. For sales at PTA events, you’ll need a Temporary Event Notice.
To find out how Hawkridge could work with your school email firstname.lastname@example.org