In 2014, after 30 years in IT, Mark was looking for a change in direction and discussed with his wife, Alison, the desire to follow his dream of transforming his hobby of home brewing into a commercial reality. This hobby dated back to his student days. Mark and Hazel quickly set up a microbrewery to supply craft beer to discerning local afficionados, and Jaw Brew was born. A name inspired by their home, Jaw Cottage. In 1998 Mark, Alison and family had settled on the shores of Bardowie Loch in a 300 year old miller’s cottage, known as Jaw Cottage. This was a return of Alison and Mark to their Scottish roots. Alison’s family originated in Glasgow while Mark’s were from the Western Isles.
The beers were well received, and a strong trade was built up over the next couple of years with Mark and Alison attending various events to showcase Jaw Brew beer and learning a lot about the drinks trade in the process. Around this time, lots of new gins were hitting the market and the same customers who were buying Jaw Brew were also interested in buying gin. It didn’t take long for Mark and Alison to develop a strategy to create a distinctive high quality ‘Bardowie Gin’ which appealed to their existing customer base and attracted new devotees. They started making the gin in small batches in a small lean-to shed adjoining the house and are now in the process of constructing a new distillery building in the garden.
Bardowie Gin, is now an award winning gin. Mark and Alison are delighted to be able to say that it has been highly praised and is a clear favourite for many customers in a crowded market. The Awards include a Bronze in the Scottish Field Gin Awards, where the gin came fourth out of a field of over 60 in a blind tasting. The gin also won a Silver in the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2018.