Sponsor Spotlight – British Polo Gin
In this issue we catch up with Rich Hine, founder of our fantastic sponsor British Polo Gin to find out more about this fascinating business.
How did you come to launch British Polo Gin?
I really discovered my passion for gin in 2015 whilst working in an Australian gin business in Perth, Western Australia, on a Winter break from playing polo professionally in the UK.
Whilst I was there I identified a large gap in the market for an 100% organic gin that was easy to drink. The gin had to be smooth enough to be drunk on the rocks, but still retaining the classic gin flavour which is crucial to allow it to cut through tonic and cocktail ingredients.
Additionally, having come from a farming background, I was keen to make sure that all of the gins were organic and produced as sustainably as possible.
Was there a defining moment?
Fate really played a hand when I severed the tendon of my little finger on my right hand side. This finger is integral to controlling the polo stick. So when I returned home to England for surgery, the surgeons advised me that my sporting career was over.
With time on my hands, I decided to research the history of gin. Fate again played a hand, when I established that the first British Polo Players in 1859, members of the British Army’s Cavalry, were also closely linked to the first group of British soldiers to mix gin with their tonic water whilst on deployment in India in 1857.
As such, British Polo Gin strongly suggests that Britain, Polo and Gin are all inextricably linked. Hence I now had a brand for my 100% organic gin, British Polo Gin, The Polo Players’ Choice.
Having returned home in July 2016 I sold my best polo horses, Snowball and Spice, who were retrained racehorses, to start British Polo Gin. By November, our 100% organic Botanical gin was appointed as Gin of the Month at the iconic Fortnum & Mason, a major accolade for any gin business, let alone one less than six months old.
Tell us about Eventing Gin
Whilst we are firmly established as The Polo Players’ Choice, our first experience of serious Eventing was when we brought our Polo Gin pop up bar to Osberton in 2018. Whilst our gins were very well received, it did feel a bit strange to be offering gins orientated at a different equestrian discipline. Having attended Belton and Burghley in 2019 with our gin bars, we felt further compelled to develop a bespoke gin inspired by Eventers.
After much experimentation we settled on a juniper forward recipe complimented with notes of pink pepper, lavender and lemon balm. We were keen to offer bespoke runs for each Eventing fixture. As such we settled on lavender and lemon balm as core botanicals as these are often found in the gardens of the stately homes which host the eventing fixtures in question.
The first iteration, Eventing Botanical Gin, was launched to the day of its first conception at Osberton 2019, to coincide with the 95th anniversary of the establishment of modern eventing at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Quadruple distilled, 100% organic and artisanely created, we feel that this gin is the quintessentially perfect offering for Eventing in Britain.