Q & A with Buddies Gin Director David Montgomery

Buddies Gin Q&A with Director David Montgomery

What made you start Buddies Gin? How did the idea come about?

As many people experienced, lockdown led to boredom, frustration, time on our hands, and an opportunity to think about our business in more detail. Every Friday afternoon, my business partner and I would have an online call to discuss our upcoming plans. Naturally, this was accompanied with a G&T… or two. One evening, we went off on a tangent and forgot to discuss business (these things happen sometimes). Instead, we started chatting about our favourite gins and where they came from. As two Paisley Buddies, and life-long St. Mirren fans, we realised Paisley didn’t have its own gin yet and we weren’t happy about it… So, the idea for creating our own Paisley gin began to brew. 

Tell us about Buddies Gin?

We are a small batch craft gin, created in Scotland. And it’s very, very moreish. But seriously, Buddies is a gin for everyone - even non-gin drinkers. We’ve had lots of people say: “I don’t normally like gin, but I love Buddies.” I think it’s because Buddies is very smooth, yet subtle. It’s not an overwhelming flavour; it’s perfectly balanced and appeals to a variety of people. Of course, the praise always intensifies the more glasses people drink…

Why ‘Buddies’? Where does that phrase come from?

It’s a Paisley thing. You might have heard of ‘Paisley Buddies’? It’s a term used to describe people from Paisley and it creates this amazing image of people coming together to celebrate the heritage of our local town. It perfectly fitted what we were trying to achieve. Everyone needs a gin buddy, so why not become a Paisley Buddy while you’re at it?

And tell us about you, who is behind Buddies Gin?

There are two of us: David and Stanley. I’m David, also known as ‘Monty’. Having grown up in Paisley, as a life-long St Mirren fan (thanks to my Dad), I was keen to show off the wonders of Paisley, the history, the heritage, and show Paisley in a positive light. It has such an amazing story and was the lifeblood of the West of Scotland for a long time. No matter where you are in the world, you’ve probably heard of ‘Paisley Pattern’ and I really wanted to draw on this with our gin. It was here where the inspiration for our bottle design and logo came about. We love the design that artist Paisley Power came up with.

What’s your favourite thing about working with gin?

We were not short of tasters. When we told our friends and family we were creating a gin, they were incredibly supportive and assured us it had nothing to do with them volunteering to be our “tasters”. I love how excited people get at the prospect of gin. It’s a fantastic job. Also, people are starting to recognise our brand now: “Oh, you’re Buddies Gin? I love that gin!” There’s no better feeling in the world.

How did you come up with the flavours/botanicals?

We wanted to create the perfect gin. so we teamed up with Persie Distillery, a local award-winning distillery. After many samples, flavours, botanicals, combinations, on the rocks, off the rocks, every fruit combination we could find, bags of lemons, limes, grapefruit and apples, we narrowed it down. It wasn’t too taxing to sample all this gin, and we really quite enjoyed ourselves, but there were 3 obvious favourites. We took it to our team of gin critics (i.e. our parents, family and friends) and got amazing feedback for one. And that’s the one we chose to launch Buddies Gin. Gin is traditionally Juniper-led, and we wanted to keep that traditional flavouring. However, we mixed it up a little with angelica, coriander, cardamom and cassia bark. The flavours are subtle and perfectly balanced.

How would you recommend drinking it?

Our favourite way to drink Buddies Gin is with a light tonic and a slice of lemon. But, what’s amazing about this community, is how creative our Buddies are. People have been sharing their G&T’s with us and tagging us on Instagram left, right and centre. Apple seems to be the garnish of choice or pomegranate. There’s also very adventurous gin-drinkers, who make cocktails with the gin. We’ve created some of our own too and you can find them on our website.

 When did Buddies Gin launch?

It’s a funny story; it happened by accident. You know the kind of friend who gets very excited and is your number 1 fan. Well, my friend Mark Rowley (Paisley Buddie and star in The Last Kingdom, Netflix) is that friend. Our website was ready and our stock was ready to sell - but we hadn’t officially launched yet. I shared a picture of the bottle with him, asking for his opinion. He loved it. In fact, he loved it so much he shared it with his 300,000 followers on Instagram. So that was that. Buddies Gin was accidentally launched and it’s been growing ever since. Our very first order came from the Philippines. We had someone looking to buy a bottle of gin for their parents who lived in Scotland. I was completely over the moon. We hadn’t even started and our gin was already having a global impact. It was at this moment I realised how huge our reach could be.  Thankfully we got it out in time for Christmas 2020, and I like to imagine the Paisley Buddies across the world bringing in the New Year with a Buddies Gin. 

What have people’s reactions been to it?

Overall, the feedback on the design, website and story has been overwhelming. We can’t believe how much impact we’re making with it already. Jennifer from Black & White Marketing is our copywriter who crafted the brand story for our website and label; while Artist Paisley Power created the design. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve built so far. It’s amazing how much people love gin. Everyone has been so supportive, and friendly with amazing feedback and reviews. This is exactly what we wanted to build with Buddies: a community of people who love gin. People who come together to enjoy a drink together. To share the experience with their families - and their buddies of course. I think our biggest challenge so far has been running out of tonic or maybe having too many people wanting to be our chief tasters? I suppose the two go hand-in-hand.

Where can you buy the gin?

You can buy it on our website at . And if you want to get it straight away, we have also partnered with White Cart Company, so you can click and collect from 30 High Street, Paisley PA1 2BZ.

What does the future look like for Buddies Gin?

We started in Paisley; now we’re ready to take on the world. Seriously though, we’ve had a lot of interest from ex-pats from America and Canada. So our plan is to sell internationally and put Paisley on the map. We’re proud of our city and we’re proud of our gin. Put the two together and you get Buddies Gin. It doesn’t get much better than that.


Monty @buddiesgin


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