A young Glaswegian once sent home from school for selling his homemade gin to classmates has distilled his teenage rebellion into an award-winning business.
Bruce Walker, from Broomhill, launched Purist Gin in desperation when he found himself without a job during lockdown.
A plan to make bespoke gins for small retailers, bars and restaurants hit a wall as hospitality closed, but pandemic panic prompted Bruce to pivot and launch his own gin brand.
While stuck at home during lockdown, brainstorming blossomed into branding and bottling with the help of mum Colette, who has since left a senior role in the public sector to join the burgeoning business.
Within a year, thousands of bottles of Purist Gin have already been sold, while the first batch earned a Bronze Medal at the Scottish Gin awards, beating 150 other entrants including established brands Isle of Harris and Edinburgh Gin in the Best London Dry Gin Category.
Not only was Bruce the youngest award winner, but Purist was the only gin launched during lockdown to receive an award.
Founder Bruce, now 22-years-old, said: ‘I first began distilling gin for my pals at parties. It tasted great and always went down very well – a little too easily perhaps. I’d like to think my taste and talent has developed since then, as have my processes!
‘When lockdown hit and with no business to speak of, it was fight or flight time. Looking back, I’m incredibly proud that I’ve managed to persevere and build a business which makes excellent gin and has a great reputation.
‘Our gins are growing in popularity with website sales increasing. I’m now working to help even more people discover our gin. I can’t wait to enjoy Purist in bars and restaurants across Scotland as hospitality reawakens.’
Mum Colette Filippi added: ‘Bruce has always marched to the beat of his own drum, and he’s got himself into a bit of trouble over the years because of that. But when he puts his mind to something, there’s no limit to what he can achieve.
‘The gin is beautiful. As soon as I tasted it I knew Bruce was on to something. I really can’t wait for more people to try it as the feedback so far has been incredible. Winning an award for the gin was the ultimate example of triumph over adversity – I’m buzzing to be along for the journey.’
Purist Gin was born with a mission to create a gin for purists, which supports artists.
Unlike most gins, Purist uses a ‘one-shot’ distillation method, which means the distilled botanicals are diluted with water to make a smoother, more aromatic end product.
But it’s not only what’s inside the bottle that counts. Each batch has its own unique label produced by an independent artist.
Among those to benefit from the partnership is emerging Edinburgh-based painter Franny Moseley, whose artwork was featured on the label of the third batch.
Photographers, sculptors, painters and graphics designers across Scotland are now invited to apply to create a label for the next batch.
To date the gin’s three varieties – Purist Gin, Purist Marble and Purist Black 57 – have been selling direct to consumers via the Purist Gin website alongside work by the brand’s partner artists, who also receive a share of the profits from each bottle sold.
To purchase either gin, art or both, visit Purist Gin’s website.