I find it really hard to explain the gin to people and what they want to know. It’s a battle to know if I should start with the facts about the gin; its flavour profile; 45%; what the ‘PERFECT SERVE IS’ (this is a topic I could ramble on for hours) or is it what the companies values are - which are my values. Let’s face it, this company is just a mirror reflection of me, and I am not offended if people don’t like the gin/ me but I do get offended when I mention I give to charity and the interrogation starts. I really shouldn’t be. I don’t fully understand why folks feel the need to belittle the fact I have chosen to donate to Gorillas or tell me that I should be donating to children, and are put off from even trying the gin because I am not supporting a cause that matters to them. So, I thought I would put ‘pen to paper’ and explain the reasons for those who what an insight into this very soft heart of mine.
It’s my dad who installed charity as a value in me and I never realised this until about a year ago when someone walked away from me calling me ‘one of THOSE people’ (whatever that means) for giving to animals. I was genuinely upset about the fact someone was mean because I donated money to charity because for that brief second, I wondered about a value that is ingrained in me. Since I was little dad has always spent free time doing things for various charities, donating time, money, resources and exposure. He is ‘just’ and electrical and chemical engineer so not even in the field but I watched him come back and share his stories and experiences and it just resonated with me. It felt so natural for me to do something to help. So ever since then I have been spending time with various charities to educate myself and donate time and money to causes to make me feel like my time on earth means something. It came so natural to me to get a blank piece of paper and creating values for Graveney, equal amount of time that I spent creating the final product spend on the charity aspect, as they both mean the same. From my previous career I knew that having loads of values meant confusion so I knew I had to keep it simple. Tasty Organic Gin, Nano batch and have charity at the heart.
Why I chose Gearing Up For Gorillas (G4G)
I grew up in Southern Africa where there are no Gorillas at all. I was into sea life when I was small and the dream career growing up till I hit 18 was to be a marine Biologist. Still no hint of Low land and mountain gorillas in sight, but it was a trip to a zoo (controversial I know) during a school trip that we stopped at the Gorillas enclosure. I locked my eyes on a silverback and that was me. Hooked. I feel in love and started my journey finding out everything there was to know about them. They are my spirit animal and was lucky enough to see them in the wild in Uganda a few years ago. My blank piece of paper now had the word charity and then a box coming from it saying Gorilla charity ?. I knew I wanted a personalised small charity and it to be focused on the Democratic Republic of Congo because it and its people suffer from the lack of resources, war and unstable economy. I stubbled across Gearing up for Gorillas by some magical google hole and reading up about Linda and what she does made me pick up the phone. Like her, a single woman run initiative started because she is a ranger and felt the difficulties and dangers that rangers faced in DRC unlike her day to day in the UK. She too is making a difference, not only for the Gorillas but for the people who care, educate and protect the natural environment. I plucked up the courage to ask if she would be comfortable with my little gin brand donating to the charity and it was a yes. It just was so easy and natural that it was perfect. With each bottle I donate around £1, sometimes I get to donate more depending on events. To date its been a total of £7,000 and with each donation it drives me to push the business harder to do that little bit more. If you would like to learn more about this charity please click the link to be taking through http://www.g4g.co.uk/. It is amazing and they do so much for Gorillas, veterinary and rangers.
So, what’s next for donations?
Well Graveney Gin is expanding its gin range and creating two new recipes. Like with G4G, selecting charities which share similar values was hard. Only because there are loads out there and so many that I knew I could be equally passionate about. Being based in Tooting and supporting St Georges was hands down an easy choice. I have had medical students working behind the scenes for Graveney Gin; I had my little boy there and I have been truly supported by St Georges visitors and NHS staff at the bar and buying bottles. Grove Fever gin which is soon to launch will focus on raising money towards paediatrics at St Georges due to the creative mind of Zach who studied at St Georges while working at Graveney Gin. He is the founder of the recipe and I just think the gin is so delicious. Based on an herbal take on gin proving more sophisticated flavours of Rosemary and Thyme to balance Juniper.
The second gin which will be called Figges Marsh with contain sweeter flavours such as fig, honey and vanilla but double the amount of Juniper. With this gin I had a blank canvas and also a huge amount of self-inflicted pressure to try and select a charity that would please local folks but also something that I am passionate about. People who know me know that I am passionate about a lot of things! I was whittling it down to a few charities and saw a social media post about Georgias Gift and thought why limited it to just one local charity. Why not have the people vote each time the gin raises money to a hand selected few. It took the pressure off me and also involved the people that drink the gin. So that was that and I couldn’t be prouder of it. Each time I raise £200 I will select three local charities and the people of Graveney Gin will select where it goes.
As I said, I won’t please everyone and I need to stop thinking that I can. All I know is that I am trying and that is a whole lot more than most businesses out there are doing. Graveney Gin has given me a platform to also provide raffle donations, complimentary gin and tonics for charities and vouchers. It doesn’t just stop at donating money to a single charity.
So with that in mind, I wanted so say a big thanks for helping me drive my many passions and with each gin giving back. I would love to hear about your passions regarding charity and local cases around Tooting.
Don’t forget, if there is a sponsorship form if you want to enquire about sponsorship, contacting me about this is something I am happy to look into, please complete the online form and I will do my best to support it within my power. Click through to the Hello Page and complete the form.
Gin cheers, Victoria