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Product Guru Supplier Focus | Into the world of Great British Vermouth and the Classic Alcohol market

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At Product Guru we are proud to support a growing community of small independent suppliers. We list products across all FMCG and gifts categories and we like to share the stories behind them.

Our latest 'Supplier Focus' blog looks at Michael, at Great British Vermouth, who told us more about his business in a recent interview.

Tell us a bit about your company and its background.
We are based on the idyllic Dalmeny Estate in Scotland, near Edinburgh. It’s a remarkable place: an extinct volcano, with a vast variety of environments – hillside, forest, meadow, hedgerow, seashore, bog, bare rocky outcroppings. It’s like having a whole country in a couple of square miles. Vermouth is all about showing off the native flavours of a place, and we have the environment here to grow – and we do – hundreds of delicious herbs, roots, and flowers.
 
We started in 2017 with the determination to capture all this botanical richness in a drink... but not another gin! Combining English wine and spirit with our own Scottish herbs, we create vermouth, one of the most ancient forms of drink (indeed, the word “vermouth” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “wermod,” meaning “human courage”). It’s like springtime in a glass: a chilled aperitif with food, a refreshing spritzer with tonic water, and the base for cracking classic cocktails, especially with all those amazing British gins.


 
How many people work for the business? 
There are four of us; it’s as much a family as a business: tending the herb garden, running the drying room, infusing and mixing, bottling, labelling, shipping. It’s hard work, but it’s also good to have everyone taking care at every stage.  And the best thing is, our workplace smells amazing! It’s like an exotic flower shop.
 
Who does it sell to? 
We sell mostly to restaurants and bars, along with some forward-thinking wine merchants and distributors. Vermouth is an interesting niche to be in, a little as gin was a decade ago: people are dropping their misconceptions about it (“my granny used to drink it”) and coming to realise that this is a delicious way to enjoy our wonderful botanicals without the full-on alcohol levels of a spirit.
 
Is there a specific product you are particularly proud of and why? 
We are a one-product company at the moment, so I’d have to say it’s our Wermod Dry vermouth, which won Gold at the World Vermouth Awards! There’s more to come, though – we are testing some extraordinary new potions.


 
What do you most enjoy about running your business?
I worked as a writer for thirty years, which is fascinating but a little lonely. What’s most fun in running this business is the people I get to meet. The drinks industry is naturally convivial – yes, everyone’s serious about the business side, but there’s a lot of sincere interest in where something comes from, how it’s made, in interesting flavours and stories – and in having a good time.
 
What are your ambitions for your company? 
On the broadest scale, I want to get the public excited about the British countryside as a source of wonderful flavours and premium products – to look closely at what’s growing right in front of our feet and learn to make something spectacular out of it. And on a smaller scale, I’d like more people to discover how outrageously good an all-British Dry Martini can taste.


 
What do you enjoy doing during your spare time?
We live where we work, in the country, so there isn’t really such a thing as “spare time.” Our hobby on weekends is going out to pick up the rubbish that a tiny minority of the visitors to Dalmeny choose to leave behind them. It’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world; why mess it up?
 
What do you think of the Product Guru platform?
Most good things in this business happen by chance: you meet someone at a trade show, or someone happens to see your product on a menu. I like the way the Product Guru encourages more of those serendipitous contacts while also getting the essentials clear and open at the beginning. It makes it easier for producers and buyers to establish shared ambitions.

Product Guru facilitates the introduction and the product discovery process by placing products in front of vetted buyers. Like Great British Vermouth, you can sign up to Product Guru for free today and start showcasing your own products on our platform.