Online digital label printing and design proved to be the perfect solution for craft gin producer Simon Hughes whose love of gin led him to setting up Exmouth’s first distillery.
Copper Frog Distilling, set up in 2017 by Simon Hughes, is a small batch artisan distillery based in Exmouth, Devon. Every batch is handcrafted, using the finest botanicals, where quality and consistency are of the upmost importance.
“The art of craft distilling is not a skill one acquires overnight, and there are no shortcuts to hard-earned, hands on experience,” explains Simon. “ We are not in any hurry, and we only bottle and sell our spirits when we are completely sure they are as good as they can possibly be. It’s a very personal endeavour.”
A decidedly family affair, the gin is distilled in a 40 litre hand made copper still from Portugal, named Jenny. To get more control, Simon uses an open flame that requires a lot of attention and a deft touch but pays dividends when it comes to the end result. He believes that this method gives the spirit a unique texture and improved mouth feel, and that certain flavours can only be achieved using a naked flame.
Copper Frog is a high standard, 42% alcohol, traditional English gin with juniper berries in the head roll and a superb smoothness; no alcohol fumes, just a lovely sweet scent followed by a citrus taste. Trying it neat allows full appreciation of its true qualities.
Using the copper still means that this London Dry Gin can only be made in very small batches – 50 at a time. The distillery produces around 100 litres a month.
Each bottle is hand-filled, labelled and dip waxed at the distillery and each batch is numbered and signed by every member of Simon’s family as they are all involved in the process at some point.
When it came to the bottle and labelling, it was crucial that the packaging outwardly reflected all the great things that had gone into making the gin inside. The brand name is inspired by the alcohol measuring apparatus, a copper parrot, and the simple fact that the family has an affinity to frogs.
The original label design, done in Ireland, incorporates an illustration of a very dapper frog. Simon then chose label.co.uk to handle the print, and bring the label to life.
“label.co.uk gave us great one to one service, providing a range of options and suggestions to make the label look its best. The copper foiling for example works really well,” says Simon. “Due to the small batch, high end nature of the spirit, digital label printing was the perfect fit as it offered short runs but did not compromise on quality.”
The distillery recently decided to produce a limited Black Edition gin at naval strength, 54.5%. Amongst other changes, this new spirit has a higher juniper and liquorice content.
In need of a label refresh for this new gin and inspired by a bottle he had seen on the Isle of Wight, Simon wanted to incorporate a ‘look through the bottle concept’ and discussed this with the recently introduced Design Service from label.co.uk.
The end result is a striking black front label and on turning the bottle, a series of images that when viewed through the liquid, depict the frog turning into a prince. This new, exciting version of Copper Frog will be available to purchase later this summer.
You’ll find a taste of Exmouth in every sip with both these gins. Keeping it local and promoting the spirit of Exmouth, the distillery purchases as much as possible from local suppliers and uses pure filtered water from Wimbleball Lake in the Exmoor National Park. It is also Simon’s passion and his quest for perfection that make this a unique new brand to watch out for.
Copper Frog original can be purchased online or from retailers in the UK. It is now also available in Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Spain and Belgium. Earlier this year the brand won a Gold in the Taste of the West Awards 2019.