Starting a local distillery is a crazy journey. Jamie Koh, founder of The Brass Lion Distillery took on unpaid apprenticeships, used 6 years to get everything ready along with countless experiments and getting the right licenses before the final fruition of Brass Lion Distillery — Singapore’s very own standalone micro-distillery. The team had an opportunity to explore the space and we were amazed at how it is a distillery, R&D lab, and a personal retail space all flawlessly furnished and ready to tell the story of her spirit creations.
How It All Started
Before The Brass Lion, Singapore did not have a gin to call her own. It was pretty disturbing since our very own Singapore Sling is a gin-based cocktail. Jamie, however, wanted something that is more area-appropriate. Think the traditional London Dry, but made subtler with local botanicals such as chrysanthemum flowers, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves — something that speaks of home, familiarity, but at the same time, of something curiously more. That was how she came up with her current collection of 3 uniquely made in Singapore gins you cannot find in any other parts of the world — the award-winning Singapore Dry Gin, Butterfly Pea Gin and Pahit Pink Gin.
What Is The Whole Gin-Making Process Like?
Jamie also shared with us a brief process of how everything is done. None of the procedures are automated to ensure a manual control during the distillation process. It is a lot of work but Jamie wants everything to be done the traditional way. The fruits and botanicals, which are mostly sourced from our local markets, are hand-peeled and macerated before going through the distillation process. Every single one of the bottles are also hand labeled by The Brass Lion team.
“Products produced locally can be a lot higher in quality as compared to those that are mass produced because a lot more care and effort goes into creating them.”
— Jamie Koh, founder of The Brass Lion
It is also comforting to see how supportive Singaporeans are. With the whole #supportlocal movement gathering momentum, the locals have flocked to the spirit of Jamie’s local endeavour. The Circuit Breaker had little to no effect on their e-commerce business and virtual workshops, with Jamie happily stating that the distillery actually performed better than ever.
A Singaporean Gin, Done Up By A Singaporean Lady
Jamie’s journey thus far, in a male-dominated industry, is amazing. First, from learning the tricks of the trade without any prior experiences, then investing in this risky venture, to finally creating her own award-winning products all by herself (all while managing her other 2 businesses — The Beast Southern Kitchen + Bourbon Bar and Chupitos Shots Bar).
Take a good sip of the gins Jamie’s got on offer, and you will be able to taste the familiar flavours of home, and a smouldering ambition to make something more for it, out of everything that lies at his heart. The story of Jamie and The Brass Lion Distillery is not just another typical successful local entrepreneurial journey because in reality, it is an insane amount of effort, hard work and a willingness to take on new challenges.
If you are up to upgrade your gin game, The Brass Lion’s gins are available for purchase on our store over here. Whip up some local delicacies, and pair them with the gins. Your palates will definitely be in for a pleasant surprise.