Alongside Queen Elizabeth II who died on Thursday (8 September), Clementine Churchill and Denis Thatcher would make the guestlist at Farage’s theoretical party, with the latter being a “keen gin drinker”. The Brexiteer’s “patriotic-flavoured” liquor was launched last Tuesday (6 September).
The GB News presenter also shared his two cents on issues facing the pub sector. He believed the energy crisis was “absolutely terrifying” for pubs, and that Government should work towards energy independency.
He also said Brexit had very little to do with supply chain issues, which were global, and staffing shortages which could be blamed on some young people having no desire to work, the country’s benefits system and over 50s leaving the sector.
The £40 gin which is available in red (cherry), white (liquorice) or blue (gardenia) was met with mockery on Twitter for its European roots. Dubbed by Farage as “quintessentially British,” the spirit’s origins can be traced back to the 13th century Netherlands where it was used as a medicinal liquor.
However, the Brexiteer said while the Dutch may have originated gin, Brits had picked it up as a drink. “We now very much feel an English ownership of gin,” said Farage.
“The Dutch and us are pretty close anyway,” he added.
The “artisan” product was made in the heart of Cornwall by a retired couple in their garden shed. However, Farage has kept lips sealed when asked the names of the elusive pair. “It wouldn’t be fair,” he said. “While a lot of people love me, there’s a small, hardcore group of very nasty, very aggressive people, and [the couple] shouldn’t be subjected to hatred.”
Gin producer after gin producer, including Cornish Rock Gin, denounced any involvement with Farage Gin when quizzed by The Guardian. George and Angela Malde were a good guess as produced gin at their home near Camelford and had a framed pic with Farage. Despite this, the pair said they had not made the liquor, claiming to be “too busy” and not really into Brexit.
However, the GB News presenter was clear he would not put his name to anything less than a really good product.
Handcrafted and artisan
“There’s so much you can do with gin – there’s so many different botanicals and flavourings,” he said. “Also, it lends itself to cocktails incredibly well.”
Lockdown had seen consumers move to choosing quality over quantity when drinking, according to the 58-year-old, which was why his handcrafted liquor was “as far away from an industrialised product as you could possibly get.”
He continued: “People wanted to make an occasion of having a drink at home – make it a really special, fun thing. Now, you’re seeing people buy high-end spirits rather than the really cheap end of the market.
“A lot of people in the pub trade may not like this, but it’s a fact of life.”
Was the Brexiteer worried his controversial reputation would impact drink sales? “Of course not,” was the answer. “Those that can’t stand me won’t buy it anyway.”
Brexit-fanatics would love the product, which could also be gifted to die-hard Remainers as a prank, he said. Either way, he added, it was a bit of fun.
“Those that can’t stand me won’t buy it anyway.”
However, Farage was clear this move into drinks production didn’t take away from his “love and admiration” for the British pub. “Every time a pub closes the local community suffers,” he said.
While Farage believed the British drinks industry was in a good place, he said the energy crisis was “absolutely terrifying” for the pub sector, with fault residing more so with the British Government than Vladimir Putin.
This comes after new research from The MA revealed nearly three quarters of pubs were unlikely to survive winter without support due to soaring energy bills.
Operators have called for a reduction on VAT and business rates as well as a cap on energy prices for businesses to mitigate the situation, which one trade body called “worse than the pandemic”.
For Farage, the solution was to make the country more energy independent. “But in the short term,” he added, “Government is going to have to dig deep into its pockets, otherwise we’re going to lose so much we all value.”
On top of this, pubs are also grappling with supply chain issues and staffing shortages. Many put this down to Brexit, which makes it harder for Europeans to come work in the UK and causes cross-country trade barriers.
However, Farage claimed Brexit had very little to do with these struggles. “Have governments on the continent made things a bit harder than they need to be? Yes,” he said, “but these issues are global.”
Instead, Farage pointed blame at those in their 50s leaving the workplace, young people with “seemingly no desire to work at all” and the country’s benefits system.