On today’s episode, I welcome Tony Messer & Darren Scott of Gnu Craft Spirits. Today, we chat about their journey and experience of starting a craft gin distillery during the pandemic in Alberta, the meaning behind their company name, where they are in the process, their first gin product, how Darren was responsible for the Macarena craze in the 90s, and so much more.
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About Gnu Craft Spirits
When COVID-19 mandates forced us all apart, the founders of Gnu Craft Spirits, Dawn, Tony, & Darren, started dreaming up ways they could continue to safely bring people together. Naturally, the conversation turned to booze.
Never ones to take themselves too seriously, they wanted to create a product and a brand worth gathering around; something fun that provoked conversation which is how Gnu Craft Spirits was born.
The Gnu (The ‘G’ is silent) is an African plains animal known for sticking with the herd. Gnus are resilient and adaptive, and always on the lookout for their next watering hole. Kind of like Dawn, Tony, & Darren.
About the Gnu Normal London Dry Gin
The Gnu Normal London Dry Gin was designed to be a go-to gin that the whole herd can enjoy. Every small batch is made with Western Canadian juniper berries, grains from the Alberta prairies, and sun-dried orange and grapefruit peel which elevates the fresh, citrus taste, making it perfect for a dry martini, G&T, or your favourite cocktail. The Gnu Normal was recently awarded bronze by the World Gin Awards for best London Dry Gin in Canada, 2022.
Tony Messer - Head Distiller
Tony's love for gin goes way back, starting with a stolen sip of his mom's Tom Collins to a weekend kick-off gin and tonic in university. After tasting many gins and developing his own palette for botanicals, he developed the mash recipe for Gnu Craft Spirit’s flagship gin: The Gnu Normal London Dry Gin. Tony enjoys a G&T most days, and while trying other brands "in the name of continuing education" his go-to drink remains The Gnu Normal with a slice of orange and a dash of tonic, on ice.
Darren Scott - Chief Operations Officer and Director
Darren’s introduction to spirits started behind the bar in the 90’s slinging vodka slimes at some of the most iconic bars and restaurants in Calgary, eventually landing in a series of senior customer service and digital marketing roles where he was able to connect two of his passions: community and design.
Darren has always been a gatherer of people and good times, using music, hockey, and booze as a catalyst for connection. When he’s not at the rink with his kids he’s dreaming and scheming up ways to get as many bottles of The Gnu Normal London Dry Gin on as many bar carts as possible across Alberta.
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