Andrew and Dina Gregson, The Tasmanian Tonic Company – Hobart
Tasmanian gin is delicious, and you shouldn’t just take our word for it. Spirits competitions around the world give it top honours. And just think of it: you can buy it right here at home and say hello to the gin-maker at your local grocery store, from a safe two-metre distance.
When Andrew and Dina Gregson returned to Tasmania after some time abroad, in corporate life, they were as delighted as anyone by the gin movement. The trouble was, people were drowning it in unsophisticated sugar water.
They came up with a way to “respect your gin.”
The Tasmanian Tonic Company brings genuine quinine and Tasmanian botanicals to complement and highlight the taste of premium gin. In less than a year, they had experienced significant growth and international buzz.
Then this happened. We asked Andrew how it was going.
How are you coping at this awful time?
We’re focusing on what we can control and leaving aside what we cannot control.
It isn’t a simple task, particularly for a business that was in a considerable growth phase. It requires concentrated effort to ignore the unknowns – but as a coping mechanism, it allows us to keep our business alive (even if on life support) to enable a return.
Are your customers reaching out to you?
Some are – some aren’t. That’s ok. We recognise that this is impacting people in very different ways. Where we can help, we will.
Is there anything you are changing about your business?
We’d set out to embrace the textbook concepts of “flexibility” and “agility” when setting up our business. We knew there would be challenges, but perhaps not to the scale of a global pandemic! On the upside, the current situation has given us the chance to test our flexibility and agility which, in the longer term, should strengthen our operation.
Like many, we’ve seen an upswing in online sales (although certainly not to a level replacing physical sales) and have taken steps to augment this side of the business.
Do you have plans or dreams for your business on the other side of this?
“This” will change how we do what we do, but not what we do or why we do it.
It took Tasmania decades to be comfortable with itself, to realise what it has to offer and to confidently project that to the world. Our business is grounded in Tasmanian provenance. That won’t change.
What do you like best about doing business in Tasmania?
Tasmania offers a business environment that encourages innovation. We cannot be the same as others, so we must find our own path.