"While I was initially only focused on distilling my own gin for friends and family, as I began working on making Island Gin a reality, I started to consider the whole packaging process. It would have been easy just to buy a generic bottle off the shelf from a supplier in Europe, which is what the majority of distillers do, but given that Great Barrier Island is a precious, pristine environment with 68 % owned and protected by The Department of Conservation, it didn’t feel right.i.e a manufactured bottle from half way around the world, that would take many months to arrive was clearly not a good environmental choice.
So I approached the major glass manufacturer in Auckland, New Zealand, Visy Glass, who I knew produced bottles made from recycled glass. They have been an incredibly supportive partner in Island Gin – persevering with my Kīna-shaped bottle design and agreeing for the first time to produce such a small run. This is new territory for Visy Glass too – as the bottle run explores packing glass in between colour changes, in this case Sea Green to Arctic Blue.
A key element of the design was to create a design that would not only be instantly recognisable, long after the labels had washed off, but also something that people would want to treasure. So I spent a long time conceptualising a bottle that was not only a beautiful object, but one that could be re-used as a water or olive oil vessel — even a vase.
But it also had to be pragmatic, particularly where it was important that it was not likely to slip during bar service and so the Kīna inspiration meant that the dimples could deliver that great tactile feel and therefore easier to use, in bars, at home or on the beach.
Finally, I am playing around with one more unique use for the bottle. When you have finished with the bottle, you are able to return it, and with the help of my friend, the renowned glass artist Ruth Allen, the bottles are then transformed into a cocktail carafe.
I call that sexy sustainability.“