Lymington gin maker Beachcomber picked for exclusive luxury brands book Strive for Perfection: Celebrating 110 Years of the Spirit of Ecstasy
A FORMER police officer-turned-distiller has seen her gin honoured in a new Rolls-Royce and Bentley book featuring luxury brands from around the world.
Karen Bass, known as Kaz, creates her Beachcomber Gin on the site of Pinetops Nursery in Pennington and sells it to New Forest hospitality venues, at local produce fairs and direct to customers.
After launching her first southern sweet gin in March 2018, Kaz quickly secured a local following of gin lovers and received silver awards in the London Spirits Competition and International Wine and Spirits Awards, as well as reaching the 2019 finals of the New Forest Marque award for food and drink in the Brilliance in Business Awards.
She describes her gin as having a silky sweet taste which coats the mouth before running smoothly down the throat without any afterburn.
“It has gentle citrus notes from a fine selection of 10 botanicals which include sweet orange peel, lemon peel, fresh lime zest and kaffir lime leaves,” said Kaz.
Now, thanks to a nomination from one of its customers, Beachcomber gin has been chosen to feature in a new Rolls-Royce and Bentley Owners Club book titled Strive for Perfection: Celebrating 110 Years of the Spirit of Ecstasy.
“The fully illustrated coffee table book is a tribute to a landmark anniversary for Rolls-Royce’s famous hood ornament,” said Kaz. “Around 43,000 copies will be distributed around the world.”
To celebrate her inclusion in the book, Kaz and her partner Stuart Paton were recently invited to a glitzy launch party at London’s Grosvenor Hotel attended by celebrities and motoring journalists.
“We had such a wonderful day at the Grosvenor Hotel in Mayfair,” said Kaz. “The event took place in the Great Hall and I was able to showcase Beachcomber gin and rum to Rolls-Royce and Bentley owners from around the world.”
After being medically retired from the police force following a serious accident in 2017, Kaz decided it was time for a complete career change and was inspired to follow her dream during a diving holiday to the Cambodian island of Koh Rong.
“We were on an idyllic stretch of beach but the rubbish and particularly plastic pollution was terrible,” recalled Kaz.
“We think it is bad in this country but this was worse than anything I had seen before and I knew I wanted to do something to help.”
After returning home, a piece of driftwood she found on Koh Rong provided the inspiration for the brand’s logo, along with a red crab named Sheldon. She chose the name Beachcomber because gin has always reminded her of tropical holidays.
The bottle is completely recyclable and is topped with a biodegradable cork. Customers are also encouraged to return their bottles, with Kaz making a donation to Ocean Cleanup for every bottle she receives back.
“I am very passionate about recycling and cleaning up our beaches,” said Kaz. “Plastic and rubbish is rapidly growing and something needs to be done to reduce this problem.”
Ocean Cleanup is a floating system designed by Dutch engineer and environmentalist Boyan Slat. It captures everything from tiny plastics to discarded fishing nets.
Earlier this year Kaz expanded her product range to include a Beachcomber spiced rum, which is proving popular with local customers.
She continues to run the business as a one-woman operation undertaking all the distilling, bottling, promotions, social media and deliveries herself.
She added: “Stuart sometimes lends a hand with the lifting and carrying when we attend producers markets, but essentially it’s my thing. I love it – its definitely a hobby as well as a job.”
Kaz currently distils around 150-200 bottles per batch but tries to match production to demand as duty is payable as soon as the gin is bottled.
It is available to buy in Waitrose in Lymington, Bradbeers in New Milton, or direct from Kaz with free local delivery or next-day collection.