Blackpool duo's traditional taste aims to rock the gin world

Jay Harrison and Simon Smith from Blackpool Rock Gin with top chef Jean Christophe Novelli at the recent Food Arts and Music Festival at the Winter Gardens
Jay Harrison and Simon Smith from Blackpool Rock Gin with top chef Jean Christophe Novelli at the recent Food Arts and Music Festival at the Winter Gardens
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Two Fylde coast entrepreneurs are hoping to rock the gin world with their new drink based on a true resort icon.

For Simon Smith and Jay Harrison have come up with a minty fresh new taste - gin subtly flavoured with traditional Blackpool rock.

Blackpool Rock Gin

Blackpool Rock Gin

The pair have been working on their creation for 18 months and the new pink drink launched this month is already creating waves at the sea-side and beyond.

Simon, who has worked as distillery manager for one of the world’s biggest gin-makers based in Birmingham, got together with Jay, who has his own marketing and design agency, to give the town its own twist on the trendy gin market.

The spirit is a “premium 10 botanicals” gin which means it is flavoured with 10 natural plant-based ingredients such as juniper plus the flavour from the classic pink rock sourced in the town.

Jay and Simon say although most people think it might be a sweet taste, it is minty and goes well with tonic, strawberries and a mint garnish or with lemonade if people don’t like the bitter tonic flavour.

Jay said: “It is not sweet, it is subtle and with normal tonic you get that very juniper forward flavour, but with notes of peppermint. Quite often when people say they don’t like gin, its the bitter tonic they dislike, so ours is designed to go with other things too.”

Simon said: “It’s very adaptable and we are seeing people going back to the bar to re-order it so you can see its not like a liqueur or a novelty drink that you will just have one of.”

Simon, who went to Heyhouses Primary in St Annes and Lytham St Annes High school and Jay, a former Kirkham Grammar pupil, said they were inspired by the heritage of the coast and chose their logo for the drink, a cross-section through some rock, and the bottle, tall and thin to echo Blackpool Tower as a result.

Simon said: “The gin is made with Lancashire ingredients in the county, we were really keen to give it that identity. And with Blackpool seeing so much investment at the moment it was the perfect time to launch the product. We even have an old sepia photograph of the Tower and Prom from around 1895 on the inside back label which you can see through the bottle.”

And he said they were trying to be as environmentally-friendly as possible with the packaging - the bottle comes in a pink cardboard tube which looks like a stick of Blackpool rock.

"We are both very proud of where we come from and it is great to have launched with the 125th anniversary year of the Tower and Grand."

Jay added: "The gin went well at the recent Food Arts and Music Festival at the Winter Gardens and they are kindly selling it behind the bar now in time for Kinky Boots and Priscilla Queen of the Desert and it was well received at the Tourism Symposium last Monday in the Spanish Room there.

"It is in all the piers, behind the bar at the Rovers in Madame Tussauds and at Viva, Ma Kelly's and the Little Black Pug, so we are really pleased with the support and the start we have had."