A Day in the Life of Guy Brennan, Owner of Procera Gin
22 September 2021
My alarm goes off at…
My routine when I am at home, is I wake up at 6:30am every morning when the sun rises, I like to keep the curtains open to be woken by the sun. I then head downstairs and do a twenty-minute meditation, followed by ten minutes of stretching to set myself up for the day. I then write down three things that I am grateful for, one thing that made me happy over the last 24 hours and I send a positive message to someone that I care about. One thing I do every day is that at 7pm I turn my phone over and do not look at it again till 8am. After my morning routine I then turn my phone over and the whirlwind starts!
My commute is….
My commute is about 45 minutes from home but we have a driver so I can work along the way. The route to work goes along the side of the Nairobi national park, the other day we saw Rhinos on the way in. There are definitely worse places to commute! I get into the distillery at around 9:30am and the day begins.
I’m responsible for ….
I consider myself an African Juniper ambassador, we are the first craft distillery, and we hope in a few years that there are ten or twenty more. At Procera I am one of the Founders and the CEO, I run the business day to day. Dalton keeps everything ticking over in Nairobi, Roger runs everything with production and distilling - we have a fantastic team. I was in the states for the last six weeks and to be honest they don’t need me here, I think I am more of a nuisance than a help! My role is to spread the word, to share our story, our passion and vision and explain why an African spirit should be £75. I generally wouldn’t want to be a salesperson but when I talk to people and explain, show them the bottle, they have a sip, and they think it is amazing. My job is easy, as Procera has had such a positive response.
How did covid affect your role?
We travelled a lot even over the covid period. We started with bars and hotel accounts, so when they all closed in March last year that threw a bit of a spanner in the works! Although we are pleased to say, we did not build up any inventory, everything we made we sold. It did change what I could do though. We were trying to launch in New York in March last year and we didn’t have a lot of the materials we should have had, brochures etc. In all honesty, this last year has helped us to get all those pieces of the puzzle together. We had time to dot the I's and cross the t’s, so to speak!
What would your best day look like?
I will tell you about my best day in New York and my best day in London. My New York best day, was at The Carlysle, a Rosewood Hotel. We agreed with them that Procera was going to be on their Martini menu. It was a moment I will never forget, one of the most famous martini bars in New York and they were going to be using Procera on their menu. Showing faith in us and willing to be one of the first places in America to stock our African gin was incredible, days like that blow me away.
My best day in the UK was when I met with Ronnie Cox and we went to The Duke to have a martini. We are sitting sipping on our martinis and Dave Broom, a whisky journalist was nearby so he came and joined us. When I started Procera, I read Dave Brooms ‘Gin - The Manual’ and I had literally written a note ‘to stalk Dave Broom’ in the pages, so this was an incredible moment to be sharing a martini with him and showing him our gin. By the end of the day, I had met with Dave Broom, Ronnie Cox and Alessandro Palazzi who is the Head Barman at Duke’s Bar. We were all sipping on Procera, and they are waxing lyrical about it. After that, I went out to Green Park and just thought “Did that just happen?!” So my best days are when people appreciate our gin, show confidence in us and love what we have put so much hard work and effort in to. It is really special.
My most memorable moment…
Meeting Ronnie Cox, Dave Broom and Alessandro Palazzi as I have mentioned and for them to try Procera for the first time and be so positive and kind about it. I couldn’t believe it and I have to confess, I took a selfie with the four of us!
What I am most proud of….
Being the first African product in almost every place we are listed. I am so proud that Africa can be represented and it is also revolutionary in the way people look at gin. I really hope in five years time a lot of gin will be made with fresh never-dried juniper, it makes a much better sipping, martini gin. Hopefully, fresh juniper from Africa will be all over the world and that will help create livelihood. Tonnes of the stuff falls on the ground at present and rots! If that could go back into the community, it would be a dream come true.
What would your Plan B have been?
I would have done something entrepreneurial; I am an entrepreneur at heart and it would be something to do with unique African products. My wife works for the United Nations and she found the incredible Acacia honey while working in Somalia so whenever we go to England, we take supplies to the top barman. Top quality base ingredients are so important and my wife is actually thinking of starting a company to sell the honey. Plan B would definitely have been something to showcase Africa and bridge the gap between Africa and the rest of the world, changing the perception of Africa and giving back into the African community.