A pioneering partnership between a fruit supplier from Kent and a Sussex-based gin producer has received a huge tonic after scooping a prestigious international drinks award. HYKE Gin, by Foxhole Spirits of Haywards Heath, hit the headlines after winning a gold award at the recent 2019 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).
The impressive success was celebrated equally enthusiastically at long-established fruit importers Richard Hochfeld Ltd (RHL), based near Wrotham Heath, which provides HYKE’s key ingredient – grapes.
Karen Cleave, Technical Director at Richard Hochfeld Ltd, said: “We have tasked ourselves with cutting our waste output by at least 30% so are constantly looking for positive ways to re-use or recycle it.
“I knew Foxhole Spirits was creating gin from grapes so I called their Managing Director, James Oag-Cooper, to see if they could make good use of what we would normally throw away.
“It was a fabulous conversation and developed very quickly into an agreement for us to send them our grapes with the aim of making a new, top quality product.
“This IWSC award proves we’ve succeeded and the added bonus is that we’ve turned a surplus product into a winning formula.
“It’s a great example of how different businesses in different market places can still find a real synergy that can benefit them while also helping with the war on waste.”
The drive to cut waste is why RHL uses IPP, one of Europe’s leading poolers of sustainable wooden pallets, to move their high-quality fruit around the supply chain, due to the Coventry-based firm’s commitment to quality and sustainability.
It’s a partnership which started in January 2015 and already this year, IPP has delivered enough grapes to Foxhole Spirits to make one million gin and tonics.
Phil Storer, UK and Ireland Director of IPP, said: “I’ve always said waste across the packaging and supply chain industries is ultimately caused by a lack of imagination.
“What we are seeing here from Richard Hochfeld Ltd and Foxhole Spirits is quite the opposite; it is sustainable and circular thinking at its best.
“Rather than maintain the status quo, Richard Hochfeld has actively sought to find ways of reusing waste product, with spectacular success in this case.”
It’s all music to the ears of Foxhole Spirits MD, James Oag-Cooper, who is always looking for creative and inventive ways to push the boundaries in the production process. He said: “This IWSC accolade is proof our raw material is amazing and shows what quality can be created from otherwise unused materials.
“It’s a strong and clear sign that there’s a bright future for what we do here at Foxhole Spirits; creating unique, premium quality spirits with a focus on using otherwise unused resources, promoting sustainability and creativity within the drinks industry.
“As resources become scarcer, the drinks industry needs to be asking ‘what if and why not?’ and using their skills and resourcefulness to reuse what’s already there.
“This important award shows what is possible with collaboration, hard work and a steadfast commitment to quality and that together, small business and big business can evoke change and make a positive impact.”