Published on October 9th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Elwyn Gladstone On MALFY Gin’s 2 Exciting New Italy-Made Spirits
Simply put, MALFY Gin is the largest premium gin distilled in Italy, which is arguably the birthplace of gin. Last week MALFY introduced two new offerings to the American market, MALFY Gin Rosa and MALFY Con Arancia. And like its sister spirits MALFY Originale and MALFY Gin Con Limone, Gin Rosa and Con Arancia both come packaged in unique, eye-catching frosted bottles.
MALFY Gin is produced at the family-owned Torino Distillati, as established in 1906, just outside of Turin. Biggar and Leith — pronounced “Bigger & Leeth” — is the company behind MALFY and also SPYTAIL Rum. I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Elwyn Gladstone, founder and owner of Biggar & Leith, on behalf of The Hype Magazine about MALFY Gin’s past, present and future.
More on MALFY can be found online at www.malfygin.com.
You seem to have been working with spirits for more of your life than not. Were you ever a bartender?
Elwyn Gladstone: (laughs) No, but I worked in a wine shop called Oddbins in Edinburgh for four years during college. There I learned a huge amount about wines, whiskies and beer while working there.
What is a typical day with you like Biggar & Leith?
Elwyn Gladstone: It’s incredibly hard work. We sell MALFY and SPYTAIL in about 60 or so countries and almost all 50 states, so it’s lots of emails, telephone calls with different importers, talking to the distillery about production and working on new ideas. We also do a lot of travel to visit our markets and trade shows to meet new people.
MALFY is the first Italian gin that I became familiar with. Aside from being Italian, what do you think makes MALFY different from other gins?
Elwyn Gladstone: Yes, we are the biggest gin from Italy now — and there are about 40 or 50 different ones — but very few in the United States. Mark Teasdale and I worked at William Grant Sons together. He created Hendrick’s Gin back in the year 2000 when he was head of marketing there. I worked for him starting in 2001 and we really developed and grew the Hendrick’s brand, which has now become a huge success with over one million cases in sales. It worked because of its really, really different packaging and look as well as a great story — rose petals, cucumbers, etc.
MALFY Gin works because it is also really, really different. It is bright, fun and colorful and makes you feel happy just by looking at it — sunshine in a bottle, so to speak. We work closely with the Vergnano family in Italy, who are highly knowledgable and have an amazing distillery. They buy incredible ingredients including Amalfi Coast Lemons, Italian Juniper, Sicilian Blood Oranges and Pink Grapefruits and turn them into our incredible liquids which again, make people feel happy.
MALFY’s gin is obviously made in Italy, but who designed the MALFY Gin Originale bottle? It looks very impressive.
Elwyn Gladstone: We worked with a lot of different, great designers in both the U.S., U.K. and Italy to come up with this fun package.
What is your drink of choice when it comes to MALFY Gin Originale?
Elwyn Gladstone: Delicious with a premium soda, or tonic if you like that.
What is coming up for MALFY in the coming months?
Elwyn Gladstone: We just launched MALFY Rosa and MALFY Con Arancia in the U.S. this week.
When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?
Elwyn Gladstone: With my family, of course!
What was the last concert you attended for fun?
Elwyn Gladstone: (laughs) My kids’ school concert! It was free and we had front row seats.
Finally, Elwyn, any last words for the kids?
Elwyn Gladstone: It’s a small world, but I would not like to have to paint it.