An Interview with La Tarot Spirits : The Gin Brand of the Moment
An Interview with La Tarot Spirits : The Gin Brand of the Moment
If it doesn't have gin then it doesn't mean a thing.
July 13th, 2022
If it doesn’t have gin then it doesn’t mean a thing. With the rise in gin lovers all over the world, we’re all becoming connoisseurs when it comes to choosing the best brands out there to compliment that glass of tonic. Recently, we stumbled across Le Tarot Spirits, a gin brand that speaks to us on so many levels.
Launched during difficult times, this is a brand that is going to last the test of time. We spent some time with one of their founders, Liz, to find out more…
Tell us about the journey that lead you to launching your brand, Le Tarot Spirits…
The beginning of Le Tarot coincides with the early days of Covid-19: I suspect several new enterprises boast a similar tale. We were sitting as a group discussing ideas and opportunities to create a business, clawing back a little control in our respective lives. The burgeoning pandemic had caused job losses and uncertain futures for our little band, and out of the blue came the idea to create a brand of gin using the iconography and artistry associated with tarot.
We have always had an affinity with France and moving down to the Occitanie region only opened our eyes to just how much culture and history is woven into everything: from the markets to the buildings and to the landscape itself. Every building has a story; every doorway seems to have a link back to its medieval origins. Most notably, the Occitan Cross is ubiquitous, adorning everything from castle gateways to corner shop doorways. Originally used as the coat of arms for a French count, it grew popular in the region and is still to be found in modern iconography of the area. Its importance is paramount, and so we wanted to make sure it was equally prominent in our design work.
We soon realised that the mystique and artwork of the age-old French Tarot card game would perfectly translate to what we were attempting to create, and it inspired the intricate designs that adorn our bottles. Our aim was to not only create a distinct flavour using botanicals found in this rich area of France, but to bottle it in a way that was equally vibrant
Where did your love and interest of gin come from?
On a hot, sultry, summer’s day, there’s nothing quite as refreshing as the zesty citrus flavours of a quality summer gin, poured over a rockfall of ice and mixed with a splash of tonic water. I first discovered this sensation when I was attending a wedding on a glorious summer day and a friend suggested I try a good-old G&T. Since then, I have sought out and collected (sampled too!) a wide range of gins from different parts of the world. I have always been drawn to not only the tastes but also the bottle and label designs, which I find fascinating at times.
Do you plan to expand your range in the future to offer more than gin?
Interestingly, we are just in the process of doing so. We have recently introduced new barware items to our online shop, as well as some fabulous gin-infused Belgian chocolates made for us by an excellent chocolatier. In addition to this, this autumn we will be launching a new gin! I can’t give away too much, but House of Coco will be first to know what we have up our sleeves!
Looking back since launching the brand, is there anything you would do differently?
I think we would probably have researched and better understood the implications of events like Brexit and the impact on our ability to reach out to the European market: something that even bigger and long-established gin producers are simply not bothering with.
Who’s involved in the business and what are their roles?
Le Tarot is very much a team effort. I work alongside my fellow directors, Ben and Mike; and between us we set the course for the brand and products. Behind us we have several colleagues and contributors – Josh and Rebecca carry out much of the day-to-day activity involved in running a drinks business. Holly Burnston provides us with much of our marketing imagery. My brother Paul has been indispensable as both a sounding-board and advisor on all things creative (he works as a creative producer for a television company). Of course, there is the extensive list of friends and family without whom we would not be where we are now.
For anyone interested in launching a drinks brand, what advice would you offer them?
Really get to know and understand your numbers! The up-front investment costs can be significant, particularly for small-batch producers like us at Le Tarot. There are numerous cost elements that build up to the selling price of a bottle, many of which only become apparent when you have passed the point of no return in investment terms! Once you have done the less than inspiring work on the figures, focus on realizing your dream; don’t be put off pursuing anything you are passionate about whether it be imagery, taste, design, description – nothing! If you keep pushing, you will achieve your end goal. Oh! And don’t expect to make your fortune: margins are tight, and the market is very competitive. Do it for the right reasons first and foremost: because you want to!
What do you do when you are lacking creativity?
Pour myself a gin and tonic: Le Tarot Soleil, of course! Seriously though, I find that taking the time to “re-set” is often the best way to reinvigorate the creative mind. This resetting takes many forms: it could be a simple walk through the local forest; sitting on a sandy beach, eyes closed, listening to the sound of breaking waves and feeding off the energy they have. It could be inhaling fresh mountain air and bathing in the surrounding nature. In essence, for me, rejuvenating the creative process is about putting aside the complexities that come with life generally, and modern life particularly, and getting back to what is important: an affinity with the natural world and fellow human beings.
Being creative has become easier for me in a way as I now live in the part of France that was largely responsible for the whole Le Tarot concept. I live in a mediaeval village north of Carcassonne in the Occitanie region of what is technically South-West France – Cathar Country.
How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?
Until recently, social media was our only platform for marketing and brand exposure, other than old-fashioned word of mouth. In the last few months we have expanded beyond this with the assistance of wonderful magazines such as House of Coco. We have been wowed by the interest from sources like this, and we are very proud to be associated with high-end publications like yours.
What is your go-to quote when lacking motivation?
That’s an easy one. US President Calvin Coolidge:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
The team and I believe this to be harmonious with our inspiration “Terre Courage”, which is found on the neck-label of our bottles and our logo. It is the motto of the Ariège département of Occitanie, nestled between the Carcassonne plain and the foothills of the towering Pyrénées. Ultimately, Terre Courage represents an enduring human spirit, and the rewards that living with nature can bring – just like the botanicals brought together and distilled into our artisan gin.
Our readers love to travel, what destination is on your must visit list?
I have visited this country before, but I really want to go back and spend much more time exploring everything this incredible place has to offer: New Zealand.
Where do you see the brand in the next 5 years?
We have a medium-term plan for the creation of a number of gins that will each be distinct in flavour, style and branding; yet they will form a recognizable group of products. I firmly believe we will be able to achieve our goals without losing the heart and soul that makes Le Tarot spirits what it is: exclusive, artisanal, of the highest quality, and gins that take you on a journey from wherever you happen to be at the moment to an inspirational place where you experience the differences in culture, geography and the essence of what makes a location special.
Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.