By Our Reporter
Self-proclaimed foodie Sally Wynter, from Haringey, this week unveiled her debut beverage, Sweet Hibiscus, from her new spirt brand MUHU.
The drink is infused with CBD – the non-psychoactive component of cannabis – which is imported from Canada. As CBD is both colorless and flavorless it does not impact on the flavor or quality of the liquor, which is brewed in Birmingham.
The 24-year-old says she first came up with the idea at a beach party in Thailand and started researching it when she got home by calling up distilleries and asking how gin is made.With only a shoestring budget supplemented by freelance work, she managed to launch, test and get a distillery on board all for around £1,300.
“Gin has been a long-time favourite drink of mine. But I just felt the flavors of gin in the UK market lacked excitement,” she said.”They also didn’t appeal to me as a young consumer.
“Gin is a great spirit. As it can be made in 24 hours it is really easy to produce not like whisky which can be aged for a really long time.”It’s taken a huge amount of trial and error, but after numerous attempts, we finally have the perfect concoction – a delicious floral gin with the excitement of added CBD.”
Unlike some other leading brands of flavored gin, which can contain 90g of sugar in each bottle, MUHU is “naturally sugar-free” and only 52 calories a shot.Inspired by the “raw colours, smells and sights” of Asia, the product is packed with natural ingredients rather than “cheap sugary” components.
She added: “CBD is something I’ve been adding to my cocktails for the past year.”
“I feel more relaxed mentally but also in my body and muscles.”
What is CBD?
CBD, or Cannabidoil, is a naturally occurring compound found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. It makes up one of 119 different cannabinoids contained within weed and is non-psychoactive.
From pet treats to chocolate, CBD has gone from being a niche, controversial substance to the latest thing to add to a product.A report compiled by the Centre for Medical Cannabis estimated that the CBD market could be worth almost £1bn a year by 2025 in the UK.
The most popular use for CBD in the UK has been for anxiety but other reported uses include pain, inflammation and even hangovers.
Why mix it with gin?
Gin is now the number one choice of spirit for British drinkers, and the market has seen a huge amount of growth in the last three years. It now accounts for 68 per cent of value growth in the spirits sector and last year UK sales were valued at £1.9 billion.
A market report by data consultancy CGA found that flavouring, in particular, is driving the ever-continuing gin boom, with sales up by an huge 751 per cent in 2018 compared to the year before.
Ms Wynter added: “Despite over 100 British gin brands now gracing our shelves there isn’t a huge diversity when it comes to brands.
“Most market themselves through provenance, limited availability or through themes of Britishness such as rhubarb and custard flavour, or with Queen Victoria as with Bombay.
“MUHU is disrupting the market with an exciting lifestyle brand which embodies millennial aspirations of travel, spontaneity and independence.”
How costs were kept down:
Label design: Quoted £15-25,000 but paid £500 by working with a designer remotely after searching design comparison sites.
Trademarking: Quoted £1,000 with the help of a trade lawyer but paid £230 for application and read up on guidelines on Gov.uk.
Product development: Quoted £20,000 but paid £0. Did trials in her bedroom and then found a distillery which carried out professional trials after they liked her product.
Website: Quoted £1,000 by a professional agency but spent £120 after buying domain name and website template. This allowed her to create a site without much coding knowledge.
What could have been spent using agencies: An extra £50,000.
The label features a wave design and has three print finishes including embossed green foil. The purple and green colours are a nod to the hibiscus and cannabis in the drink.
A bottle is priced at £34.99 for a 50cl bottle.