Posted on June 26 2020
Summer is upon us and with our frequent Friday aperitvo Happy Hours that have been getting us through quarantine. We thought it was a good time to interview a female founder who is making changes in the spirits industry. Meet Dr. Nicola Nice of Pomp & Whimsy. Pomp & Whimsy is a classically distilled gin updated for a contemporary palate one that is inspired by women, for women. Follow along as we find out more about Dr. Nicola and gin!
ALLY: Tell us about yourself
Nicola: I’m a trained sociologist and brand strategist, who has spent 20+ years in the world of consumer insights and innovation. I started my career in academic and public policy research, and then worked in management consultancy before finding my calling in market research and brand strategy. Originally from London, I came to the US in 2007 and became an entrepreneur by accident when the parent company of the UK based agency I was working for went bankrupt. I had the opportunity to buy out the US operations and build a new agency from scratch. I’ve been running that company for the last 13 years. My clients include many of the top global liquor producers, and I’ve always loved the industry. However, I’ve always seen the female consumer as much a underserved and untapped audience in the spirits space. So, in 2017 I decided to launch a new kind of gin company, one that is inspired by women and led by women.
ALLY: Why Gin?
Nicola: Women have a long history with gin. Back in the heyday of the spirit, we used to make it, sell it and consume it in large numbers. In fact, the spirit used to have the nickname Mother Gin! In launching Pomp & Whimsy, I wanted to pay tribute to the role that women have played in the history of the spirit. I also wanted to bring back a lost style of gin – the gin cordial, which is a lightly sweetened and infused lower proof spirit – and update it for a modern palate and modern mixology.
ALLY: What differentiates your gin brand from the competitors in terms of the flavor.
Nicola: There is nothing else like Pomp & Whimsy! You won’t find anything close to it on the shelf. We distill it from scratch from a proprietary blend of 16 different botanicals. There are exotic fruits, delicate florals, traditional gin spices and juicy citrus. It is delicious sipped by itself, topped with anything bubbly or used in place of gin in classic cocktails. The closest that anyone has come in describing it is as if Hendricks Gin and St Germain had a baby - although it is still very much its own profile.
ALLY: As a brand targeted towards women what were you trying to bring to the table in terms of liquor and the idea of spirits and women.
Nicola: With Pomp & Whimsy, we are on a mission to give women back our rightful place – our rightful place in the history of gin and the cocktail, our rightful place on the back bar, and our rightful place as the chief entertainers and cocktail makers of the home. Instead of reducing the female experience to one dimension (e.g. “pink”, “fruity” or “low calorie”), we want to elevate it and bring something different to the bar that adds new dimension and value. This is not about “gin for women”; this is about using a female lens as a platform for innovation, and hopefully the gateway to more diversity (and more interesting brands and products) in general.
ALLY: What's your favorite gin cocktail? Do you get to experiment and be a mixologist?
Nicola: Oh wow, that’s a tough question because Pomp & Whimsy is so good in so many styles of cocktail and we are constantly experimenting! I will say that my favorite cocktails are generally those with fewer ingredients. If it’s Pomp & Whimsy, it’s got to be a spritz, a bee’s knees or a martini. For gin cocktails in general, it would be a French 75, Negroni or the classic G&T.