The Crown family from West Norfolk debuts its first gin, WhataHoot, which uses the county’s lavender and samphire
Who are you and what do you do?
WhataHoot is a Norfolk based, family owned distillery. We distil gin using a range of traditional, exotic and local botanicals to create a distinctive Norfolk dry gin.
Is it a family firm?
100 per cent. We are husband and wife Jason and Nicky Crown who, along with our eldest son Ethan, look after the day to day running whilst youngest son Oliver supports the business with his cocktail creations.
Where are you based?
At Flitcham Barns in Flitcham, just outside King’s Lynn. The barn is part of the Sandringham Estate and we are surrounded by glorious countryside. We are so lucky that our barn has the most beautiful outlook and is surrounded by grazing cattle. So most days, it’s just us, with the farm animals and the local wildlife to keep us company!
What is your background?
We all bring something different to the table – Jason owned an IT company, Nicky worked with families, Ethan has an established social media business and Oliver is currently studying Entrepreneurship at university. However, it was always our plan to start a lifestyle business together and we realised there was real mileage in making a business out of our favourite drink – gin.
How did the name come about?
We came up with the name ‘WhataHoot’ as we love owls. We also wanted this business to be fun – a real lifestyle business – so by calling ourselves WhataHoot, it is a reminder that we are in this to ‘have a hoot’ and do something together as a family. The barn, with all its own connotations, and the fact that Flitcham has a bird reserve was just a perfect happenstance.
When can we expect the new gin to be available and where?
We will be at many farmers’ markets, craft fairs and festivals throughout the year. We have also been approached by a number of delis asking to stock our gin as well as various restaurants, so you may well find us in an establishment near you!
Can you tell us a bit about it? Any secret ingredients?
We use a range of botanicals, some of which are sourced from overseas, but we are also proud to use local ingredients such as samphire, lavender and even our water is from East Harling. The secret is purely in the quantities and blending.
Any future plans?
We plan to develop and bring out new flavours and we are already currently working on some exciting ideas for Christmas. We also want to develop ‘WhatsyourHoot’! We know that everyone likes their gin a different way, so whilst we are happy to give ideas on how you could drink it, we passionately believe it is up to you how you enjoy WhataHoot gin – hence ‘WhatsyourHoot’! We are keen to establish an online platform #whatsyourhoot, so we can share everyone’s different ideas.
How has Norfolk Food and Drink been able to help you?
We believe Norfolk Food and Drink and Proudly Norfolk Food and Drink embodies the community of the food and drink industry here in Norfolk which we look forward to being part of.
Published in Feast issue 28 – July 2018