My working life began on a stall in Camden Market. I loved everything about the area, which paved the way for a return to the Lock after a 15-year career in spirits, working in research, development, sales and marketing at Bacardi. Bacardi has a formidable portfolio beyond its rum namesake, and I worked on tequila, liqueurs and cachaça as well as Bombay Sapphire, Dewars, Martini and Grey Goose.
In 2014, it was time to put a lifelong ambition to have my own start-up into action. The catalyst was learning about Camden Lock's former gin glory. I have memories of walking along its footpaths to work, without giving thought to what its large warehouses and cobbled streets had been home to in years gone by. From 1869 to 1964, Camden was one of London's largest distilleries, stretching from the canal to the Roundhouse, with only tell-tales like the road name Juniper Crescent remaining as a nod to the past. With a genuine affection for Camden and good grounding from my years at Bacardi, my ambition was clear – to reinvigorate gin-making in the area.
I started with a small rotovap, like those used in labs, and then a 210-litre copper still. I knew my gin had to stand out – I wanted it to be enjoyed neat or over ice – so I narrowed down an array of botanicals to tea and bergamot. I use a unique combination of production techniques: copper pot, vacuum distillation and handcrafted tinctures to achieve its distinctive taste.
In two years, Half Hitch has won five global awards and sells in Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason, as well as being served regularly in St James's Palace.
Order a 70cl for £39.95, or learn how to make gin at Gin School for £50 per person; halfhitch.london
Meet more of the people quitting their jobs to start afresh in the food and drink industry.