Eliteror.com had always taken pride to show cast local talents and homegrown initiatives. Brass Lion Distillery gently roared onto the local F&B scene with the creation of the Singapore Gin. Not since Yeo Hiap Seng had any local drink brand generated such awe and entrepreneurial interests that made seasoned nightlife (or wildlife) sat up to take notice.
True to its brand name of brassy resilience and business acumen, founder Jamie Koh rolled up her sleeves to engage in the distillation process and produced not one but THREE Gin flavours, with more liquid treasures to come.
Eliteror.com happily supported Brass Lion Distillery in a purchase of Butterfly Pea Gin and look forward to the Pahit Pink Gin to impress the ever hard-to-please workshop uncles.
A 6 year journey to bring the Brass Lion Singapore Dry Gin to life
Touring, interning and apprenticing at distilleries from Portland to South Carolina, London and Germany’s Black Forest, it was a labor of love that culminated in Brass Lion Distillery, and its flagship spirit, the Singapore Dry Gin.
“We really wanted a truly Singaporean product, one that we can say was made in Singapore, by Singaporeans. That is the reason why we were determined, against all odds, to open in Singapore .” Jamie K., Founder.
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1. What prompted you to embark on this Singapore Gin creation journey?
I first conceived the idea of Brass Lion Distillery in 2012 because there were no Singaporean spirits available. Iconic Singaporean cocktails like the Singapore Sling – a gin-based drink – always used gins that were not from Singapore, which I felt was a huge shame. I decided to create a local distillery to feature spirits that highlighted botanicals from this region of the world. I felt that creating a Singaporean distillery was right given how the cocktail and spirits scene here has matured. With locals becoming more discerning about their cocktails, there was potential in creating Singapore-focused spirits that allude to Singapore’s history and culture.
I went to enroll myself in classes learning about distillation processes so that I could start my own distillery in Singapore. After six years, we finally launched Brass Lion distillery that specializes in producing high-quality small-batch craft spirits.
2. What were the experiences or foundations that had unknowingly prep you for setting up Brass Lion Distillery?
From running my other F&B ventures like Chupitos and The Beast, I already had the knowledge of running a business, so I knew I’d be slightly easier for me. Having an intimate knowledge about the spirits industry and what consumers want also gave me an upper hand. The industry contacts and business relationships I’ve made throughout my years helped a lot in setting up Brass Lion as well.
3. Did you look at the local herbs and spices the same way, now that a Singapore Gin is created?
No, not really. I still look at it the same way but now I have the extra knowledge on how the different herbs and spices present themselves apart from just being in food. I learned the best method to extract the flavor from the herbs and spices, whether it’s through maceration or vapor infusion and how the different flavors present themselves the process of distilling.
4. What are the qualities you look for, in the people/partners you work with?
Attitude is the most important quality. Also since we are the first in Singapore, we look for hard working individuals that have the ability to think out of the box and be innovative.
5. Which takes precedence, efficiency or creativity?
For Brass lion, we’re very new so we try to have a good balance of efficiency and creativity. We constantly need to innovate to stand out from the crowd. Our list of things to do is never ending so efficiency is extremely important as well.
6. What’s next for Brass Lion Distillery?
The Pahit Pink Gin is a lesser-known gin variety that has recently come back to the forefront of gin distillers.’Pahit’ means bitter in Malay. This was a traditional cocktail that the British brought over when they were in Singapore. It was a very popular cocktail back in the day but gradually fell out of favour when the British left.
So we decided to bring this forgotten drink and make it our own with our very own bitters featuring local botanicals.
In the next few years, we have plans on creating other kinds of Singapore-focused spirits, not limited to just gin. We also plan to export our gin to other markets around the world.
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We raise a toast to Jamie and her team, and applaud from below as we watch the team walk this tightrope of creativity, meander through bureaucratic licensing and running a production facility fused botanicals and spirits, right here on homeground.
Photocredits and excerpts from