If your father offers you a drink, you never know what it might lead to. In the case of former JP Morgan investment banker Anshuman Vohra, it led to a love of gin and tonics, an interest in gin, and eventually the creation of his own brand: BULLDOG Gin.
It was back in 2004 when Vohra was working as an investment banker in New York that he used his evenings and weekends to develop a business plan and raise the funding needed to start his own spirits company. But what to call it?
‘I’ve admired Winston Churchill since a young age, probably when I first studied World War II,’ says Vohra. ‘He was a tremendous political entrepreneur, relentless and incredibly witty. And, most importantly, his ability to inspire others is legendary. During the War, the “Bulldog Spirit” was born in the UK, engendered out of the necessity for inner strength, resolve, character, perseverance and courage under fire (literally and figuratively). It’s that British “Bulldog Spirit” from which BULLDOG Gin derives its name.’
The British influence isn’t just in the name, though. BULLDOG is quadruple-distilled by the 250-year-old Greenall’s Distillery near Manchester in the north of England. It uses water from Lake Vyrnwy in north Wales, and wheat from Norfolk in eastern England.
The botanicals, however, are definitely international. They are what Vohra believes make his gin stand out from the crowd: ‘We have the most distinctive blend of botanicals ever assembled in a gin, 12 botanicals from 8 countries, which we source from the same location every year, at great expense, to ensure consistency of climate and soil.’
Three of those botanicals are exclusive to BULLDOG Gin: lotus leaf and dragon eye (a relative of the lychee) from China, and white poppy seeds from Turkey. Other botanicals include French lavender, lemons and almonds from Spain, coriander from Morocco, and the essential juniper berries from Italy.
It’s a combination that is clearly working, as since it launched in 2007 it has shown a phenomenal growth rate. ‘According to IWSR,’ says Vohra, ‘we are the fastest-growing premium gin brand worldwide for brands selling over 50,000 9-litre cases annually.’
BULLDOG is now available in over 80 countries and is the 4th largest premium gin brand in the world. So what would Vohra like bartenders to know about mixing with BULLDOG Gin?
‘That BULLDOG is the most mixable gin in the world – both for gin and tonics and for other cocktails. We really focused a lot on the aroma, balanced palate and clean, crisp, less-dry finish. I even enjoy sipping in on the rocks sometimes!’
Vohra’s inspiration, Winston Churchill, was noted for his love of a drink and of the good things in life. No doubt one of the distinguished statesman’s many pithy quotes also motivated the BULLDOG Gin CEO: ‘I am easily satisfied with the very best.’