Meet the Londoner who's finally mastered the perfect lower-alcohol tipple
- Nick Johnson is the founder of Spirit of Bermondsey - a one-of-a-kind drinks company, devoted to capturing a unique part of London (the old gateway to the world's spice trade) with lower-alcohol alternatives to the UK's favourite spirits.
- Nick's also a local councillor who's deeply involved in the community and history of Bermondsey. The inspiration for his unique spiced botanical blend, Trinity25, he drew from the names of Bermondsey’s warehouses – Nutmeg House, Cardamom Building, Vanilla and Sesame Court – all named after the spices they originally stored.
- His mould-breaking Trinity25 is a fresher alternative to gin (at 25%) and is made with 100% English grain spirit, cold-infused with juniper and a ‘trinity’ of spiced botanicals. It’s a drink you can enjoy drinking throughout the evening – not so strong that it leaves you feeling ropey the next day, but strong enough to feel like a ‘proper drink’.
Nick Johnson's Story
My name is Nick Johnson, I’m the founder of Spirit of Bermondsey, a new Bermondsey based drinks company. The name ‘Spirit of Bermondsey’ is of course a play on words – we are a spirit company based in Bermondsey, but it also seeks to capture the sense of a unique part of London, an area with a clear sense of its own identity and pride in its past as the gateway to the world thanks to the docks and wharves that lined the Thames in Bermondsey.
The warehouses of Bermondsey have incredibly evocative names – Nutmeg House, Cardamom Building, Vanilla and Sesame Court – all named after the spices they originally stored. They were the inspiration for the unique spiced botanical blend in our launch drink, Trinity25.
Trinity25 is a fresher alternative to gin (at 25%) and is made with 100% English grain spirit, cold-infused with juniper and a ‘trinity’ of spiced botanicals – cardamom, coriander seed and black pepper. The world has changed and people are increasingly health conscious – hence the rise of zero alcohol beers and drinks. We wanted to get beyond that ‘famine and binge’ approach to drinking where people go from drinking too much to avoiding all alcohol for a month, only to go straight back to drinking heavily.
Trinity25 is distilled to 25%ABV, making a genuinely lighter alternative to gin – something you can enjoy drinking throughout the evening – not so strong that it spoils the evening, whilst still being strong enough to feel like a ‘proper drink’. We aim to launch a series of lighter spirits brands, all made with the same uncompromisingly high quality ingredients and distilled to a slightly lighter ABV, allowing people to enjoy the night for longer.
Our ambition is to be a company with some social purpose, sharing a proportion of our profits with local charities as well as supporting local businesses and artists – for example, at our launch party we were proud to have up and coming local singer Antiq’ue perform.
As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve spent my life launching business consultancies but feeling frustrated that I hadn’t made anything tangible. Having worked with lots of spirit brands over the years, I decided to combine my entrepreneurial spirit with my love of the liquid type of spirits! I love gin, but have felt for some time that gin has lost sight of what it is supposed to be – a classy and simple spirit. Too many gins these days have 10 or 20 different botanicals, are distilled some mega strength (often over 50%) and claim to be from the Mediterranean or Iceland. I wanted to take gin back to basics – a simple botanical blend and distilled in the home of gin – south London, whilst at the same time moving gin onwards by making it at a lighter and fresher strength (25%), so you can enjoy it all night long.