Brother and sister team launch range of Rugby gins in tribute to late brother
A brother and sister have launched a brand new range of gins based on the history of Rugby in a touching tribute to their brother.
Richard Wilson and sister Emma founded Rugby Distillery earlier this year and their creation, Rugby Gin, is now pride of place in pubs and bars across the region.
The brother and sister team launched their business in memory of their brother Ian, who passed away in May 2020 after battling a heart condition and related health problems for several years.
Their gins not only pay tribute to Ian, but also champion the history of the town of Rugby and the great game that it is home to.
Based in Harborough Magna, just outside Rugby, their distillery produces a range of three gins and is already producing nearly 200 bottles every day.
“Our loving brother Ian passed away in May 2020,” said Emma. “He loved a good G&T so we know he would have loved our new venture and that has been our driving force.”
Richard, who also suffered a serious back injury in 2020, said the loss of his brother and the global pandemic had created a personal ‘epiphany’ which saw him and Emma decide to take the plunge and create the distillery.
He said: “We wanted to create something – something that would mean something to the town and community that we love. We decided that something would be a distillery.”
Rugby Distillery prides itself on using British-sourced ingredients and botanicals to create unique flavours with a superior quality and gins that have their own unique story related to the history of Rugby.
The company’s flagship gin, the 1823 Dry, pays tribute to the year William Webb Ellis famously picked up a football and ran with it at Rugby School, creating the game of Rugby. The 1878 Navy Strength gin marks the year of the first Army-Navy rugby match, and a Rhubarb gin also offers an alternative for those who prefer a fruitier flavour.
The operation involves the whole family, with Richard making the gin, Emma handling sales and customer service and her husband Rob instrumental in creating the distillery, even making their office table from scratch. On top of this, Richard’s niece Millie helped paint the distillery and is now chief bottler, while her sister Bella makes sure all the labels are on straight. The family dog Lola the cockapoo is also often spotted around the distillery.
“It really is a family affair,” added Richard. “Each of us is involved and that makes it even more special. We’ve also had huge support from the community and people seem to love that Rugby now has its very own gin. Our gin is being stocked in pubs and bars across the town, as well as further afield in Warwickshire and into Birmingham. We just can’t wait for it to spread even further so we can help put Rugby and its history on the map.”