THREE best friends have launched a new high-end gin brand inspired by their love of the north Essex coast.

Retirees Gavin Miklaucich, Godwin Baron, and Grahame Malcolmson have created Oystermen Gin, a spirit infused with an oyster leaf, a hint of Spanish lemon and a twist of Japanese sansho pepper.

The friends were set to launch the product across the food festivals of north Essex this summer, but with events curtailed due to Covid-19, were forced to move their plans online initially.

They spent the spare time producing bottles of alcohol hand-sanitiser for Colchester Hospital, but were finally able to release their spirit to the public late last month.

Gavin, who lives in Abberton, said: "Due to the outbreak we realised we were a bit stuck and we had to go online straight away. We probably wouldn't have done it for a little while otherwise.

"But in a way it was a blessing in disguise. It has gone really well, the subscriber business is building up really well.

"A lot of people will buy a new gin to try it then never order it again, but we have had some return customers too which is encouraging.

"We have already started work on our second batch which we were not expecting so soon."

The idea for Oystermen Gin really came together when Godwin, of Wivenhoe, and Gavin were introduced via mutual friend Grahame, who lives on Mersea.

All three are lovers of the area's amazing coastline and its bountiful seafood produce, including the world-famous Colchester Oysters.

Discussions about creating a new spirit led to them undertaking a distillery course in Holland - and the rest is history.

Gavin said: "Our original idea was to distil using the oysters themselves or the shells.

"We didn't think anything like it had been done before but then somebody told us about a lovely gin from Scotland which uses oysters.

"We also realised with oysters a certain amount of people wouldn't be able to enjoy it because of allergies.

"We came across oyster leaf so we decided to give it a try. It has never been used in gin before to the best of our knowledge."

Wivenhoe creatives James Dodds and Martin Newell were all too happy to provide imagery and a poem for the gin's bottle.


  • Oystermen Gin is now available online and in some retailers

At £37.50 a bottle, Oystermen Gin is a positioned as a premium gin brand, but the trio have big plans to make it one of the biggest in Essex as well as produce more spirits under their 3Amigos Artisan Spirits firm.

They will return to the county's food festivals and fairs when they are able to and are talking to pubs and restaurants in the area about serving it on the menu.

Gavin said: "We wanted to make a high-end gin which as it is clear you cannot compete with the mainstream brands like Bombay Sapphire or Gordon's.

"It started as a hobby but has now grown into something more. We are really encouraged by the start we have made and are looking forward to the future."