Name: NOVEMBER PAPA WHISKEY
Mission: TO EDUCATE AND ENTERTAIN THROUGH CREATIVE DRINKS EXPERIENCES
Nathan started working in the drinks industry fifteen years ago and has worked all over the UK in a variety of roles including Bartender, Auditor, and Menu Consultant. “I moved to Bristol about five years ago to help a friend run a bar and totally fell in love with the city and its vibrant food and drink scene.”
For the last few years he has noticed that people in general are more interested in the creative process that goes into what they are drinking, “be it a cosmopolitan that a bartender makes them on a Saturday night, or a single malt scotch whisky. There is a general move away from mass produced goods towards more artisan products, especially in food and drink.”
Nathan saw a gap in the market for a business that focused on educating consumers about drinks. “With theses ideas in mind I set up my company November Papa Whisky in April this year (NPW are my initials). At the time I was doing some work for a bar in Clifton running small intimate group tastings (mainly tasting Gin and Whisky). I had such a positive response from these sessions that I decided to set up on my own.”
The format of the sessions is really casual and opens up an informal dialogue about the creative processes behind distilling and blending. “I’m a firm believer in lifelong learning but education does not have to happen in a classroom environment. If you enjoy having a drink you will enjoy learning something about that drink or a new way to experience it.” Nathan has a really diverse customer base including stag and hen parties, corporate parties and people within the drinks industry. “I think the urge to create and learn is universal. I hope people come out of these sessions with the tools to appreciate alcohol in whole new way.”
After initial success with the tastings it occurred to Nathan that the people coming to his sessions really had the desire to get hands on with the creative process but lacked the tools to do so. “So I started to develop a product where people could safely manufacture their own gin without getting too technical. The product allows you to add individual flavour compounds to a base spirit in almost infinite combinations. The development process was long and arduous, I currently have over thirty of these individual botanical compounds ranging from Allspice to Wormwood. Each one is created through an organic process of extracting flavour from naturally occurring botanicals.”
Although the process of creating this product was extremely complex, using the product couldn’t be easier. “It is like handing someone a blank canvas and a selection of paints, you can not help but be creative with it and whatever you make will be truly unique and a reflection of yourself.” The real beauty of the product is that after a day of blending gin you can walk away with a fantastic bottle of booze! After a gin tasting with a hen party “one lady remarked that the session had felt like an episode of QI! I honestly could not stop smiling for the rest of the day, I think it is probably the best compliment i have ever received.”
The hardest step for Nathan was deciding to set up on his own. “Almost all the projects I have been involved in before have been collaborative, so going solo was a big leap. I definitely could not have done it without the help of my partner (the lovely Sara) and my friends. He believes that people are eager to get involved with the creative process but lack the tools to do so.
Nathan is also currently working with the team at Hyde & Co in Bristol. “This is hands down one of the best bars in world! These guys are a constant inspiration to me and always keep me on my toes in the way I think about and approach flavours and ingredients. I remember seeing one of the boys produce an edible pineapple ‘leather’ out of dehydrated pulp that he had used to create his own pineapple rum weeks earlier. We are always challenging each other and it is a welcome break from working on my own.”
In the future Nathan is hoping to introduce a whisky blending class, “but that is fraught with its own challenges to overcome. I also would love to host my own booze themed podcast. Sometimes I get sick of my own voice wittering on about drinks, it would be refreshing to hear someone else do the talking!” NWP are planning a ticketed event at the end of August to really exhibit what they do as a company. For more details keep an eye on the website, but you’re guaranteed that there will be plenty of gin and whisky.