County Cork, Ireland
All is not butter that comes from the cow!
Old school friends messing about with gin in the Irish countryside
The Origin Story
Ballyvolane’s Gin Distillers
Having scratched heads, studied tea-leaves and consulted with wives for almost a year, Justin Green and Antony Jackson formally established the Ballyvolane House Spirits Company in May 2015. Born out of a shared passion for food and drink, coupled with many years spent in the world of catering, hospitality, marketing, and wine, it just seemed like a good time to come together and become active players in the wonderful world of small-batch distilling. The result is a privately-owned, passionately-run little business based on the grounds of the stunning rural idyll that is Ballyvolane House near Castlelyons in Co. Cork. There are three main protagonists in the story of the Ballyvolane House Spirits Company; Justin Green, Antony Jackson and a cow named Bertha.
Bertha, A Kerry Legend
Bertha, or ‘Big Bertha’ as she was known, was a legendary Droimeann cow from Sneem in Co. Kerry. When she died on New Year’s Eve 1993, just 3 months shy of her 49th birthday, she had become something of a local celebrity. Over the course of her long life she had given birth to 39 calves, and this achievement, together with her tremendous age, had earned her an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. When we were thinking of a name for our gin we wanted to find something that was eye-catching, distinctive and that dove-tailed with the pedigree of what we are working with and what we have set out to achieve. The dairy farming heritage of Ballyvolane, our use of whey alcohol in the gin, and our shared love of the gorgeous and gentle characters that can be found only in Ireland led us back to Bertha. To immortalise her memory, we have brought her back in spirit, literally!
Revenge is best served…in a glass?
But why is Bertha seeking revenge? It is not meant in a spiteful or harmful way; quite the contrary. Her life on earth, whilst celebrated at the end, was one of long service and selfless matronly duties. Her life in spirit is all about joy and pure Bertha time! Droimeanns are a very hardy breed and are easy calvers. Like Justin and Antony, their temperament is usually very placid and they are also regarded as highly intelligent.
The secret sauce
The Whey to Go
“When Cows Fly”
Our vision was to craft a gin that holds its head high alongside some of the more established and celebrated small-batch inhabitants on the premium drinks trolley. Aside from earning acceptance and respect in the bear pit that is today’s gin market, we wanted to create something that was true to who we are, and where we are from. Since 2015 we are now exporting to over 20 international markets, and have gratefully received a plethora of worthy awards along the way. We are proud and delighted that our little creation has taken flight, and that the Bertha love is spreading beyond Ireland!