Katie Ellis – Distiller of Ship Shape & Bristol Fashion Gin 

Name Katie Ellis 

Job within the wine trade Founder & Distiller of Ship Shape & Bristol Fashion Gin 

How long have you been in this role/wine trade? Two years 

What made you want to get in to this area of work and what drives you to stay in it? After 13 years at the BBC working in television I wanted to find a job that excited me that also worked around family life. I’m not a natural when it comes to maths and science but having gained the confidence working with complicated cameras and kit working in documentaries I’ve developed quite a gung-ho attitude so when I saw a beautiful copper alembic still I was enchanted and couldn’t wait to get experimenting. Finding botanicals, learning how to distill and blend was awesome, then launching the gin and it being well received by local independents was and still is a real thrill. It’s such a lovely friendly industry to be in and I really enjoy meeting people, new businesses and providing gin tastings. The challenge I face is working by myself I get lonely from time to time, I do miss being part of a team sometimes, also it’s constantly learning how to adapt and grow as a small business but the upsides are well worth it and I’m a popular mum on the school run when I need friends to taste test my blends! 

What is your career highlight? Finally creating my pink gin blend! It took me months and endless trialing to get the right notes to come through. There wasn’t enough room in my 15 litre still to fit all the rhubarb I wanted to go in it so I played around with different techniques finally using freeze dried rhubarb as well as fresh frozen to give it the notes I wanted.

If someone wanted to get in to the wine industry, what would your advice be? Be relentlessly curious and get out there meeting people. Instagram has been a great way of me finding out what is going on in the area and around the world in the industry but you can’t beat connecting with people face to face.

5 quick fire questions – Up close and Personal!

1. Favourite food and wine match? A New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with a big bowl of garlicky prawns or langoustines eaten in the sunshine is my idea of bliss.

2. Have you got tattoos if so, how many.. if not, are you tempted? No but I’ll never say never- I’ve seen so many beautiful ones & I once saw a lady with a beautiful colourful hibiscus flower on her wrist, it really was stunning.

3. What did you want to be when you were growing up? I wanted to be everything from a fire fighter to an actress on the stage to a skydiving camera person! 

4. What is your favourite season? hands down its summer with a g&t in hand.

5. If you had 3 wishes, what would they be? A life of good Health, contentment and adventures  for us all