Emma Watson Launches Renais Craft Gin With Ties to Chablis
It looks like Hermione has moved on from Butterbeer to the hard stuff—and we promise that’ll be our last and only Harry Potter joke. Translation: Emma Watson has entered the celebrity spirits world by teaming up with her brother, Alex Watson, to launch their very own gin, Renais. While the best gin brands often play a more subtle role in cocktails, craft gins like this brings something new and exiting to the table.
Described as a “bold and vibrant gin inspired by the people, produce, and provenance of Burgundy, France,” Renais has close ties to the wine world, much like the Watson family. Some 30 years ago, Emma and Alex’s father, Chris, planted Domaine Watson vineyards in Chablis. In 2002, they won second place as the best indie Chablis maker, subsequently becoming the region’s ambassador to the U.K. Alex, meanwhile, was previously the on-trade customer marketing manager at Diageo and led the brand’s production process.
The Watson siblings’ backgrounds in wine and spirits help make Renais more intriguing than the majority of celebrity-backed spirits. Drawing inspiration from wineries, the gin actually speaks of a place—while also managing to be carbon-neutral. They did this by using “upcycled French pressed wine grape skins and lees” to create the base spirit, instead of using grain, which helped to minimize waste. This is then mixed with a Kimmeridgian stone distillate, pressed grand cru grapes—to provide that classic Chablis minerality—and botanicals grown by the brand’s partner producers, including juniper, grains of paradise, linden flowers, and acacia honey.
Related: Best Craft Vodkas That Are Anything but Neutral
“I wanted to do something that no one had ever done, to capture the essence of a specific terroir and the uniqueness of Chablis by drawing on the traditions, techniques, and ingredients from the land—and embodying those characteristics in a gin,” says Alex.
“Not only does the Chablis region evoke very special memories of growing up, I’ve loved having the opportunity to create something with my brother Alex,” adds Emma. “I’m particularly proud of upcycling grapes from vineyards [including my dad’s] to reduce waste and create something new—being one of the only gins in the market using mushroom packaging, and our carbon neutral product status.”
Renais uses multiple sustainability initiatives in its production process, including solar-powered stills at the distillery and the aforementioned biodegradable mushroom packaging from the Magical Mushroom Company. The remaining carbon emissions are offset through the support of wind farm initiatives in India via ClimatePartner, making Renais a certified carbon-neutral product after evaluating the entire production process.
The gin is meant to be served neat, over ice, or in a variety of classic cocktails like a martini or a Negroni. Bottled at 40 percent ABV, just 4,000 bottles of the gin are being released as part of the initial launch with a second batch expected to arrive in June.[$56; renais.co.uk]
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