Founder & CEO
Chris Klug created Gothic Gin while on medical leave, taking a trip when he did not know how much time he had left with the uncertainty of what he would do with the time. He followed his passion and values, and the universe gave him Gothic Gin, which he now wants to share with the world and create as much positive change as possible. With Gothic Gin, Chris brings decades of experience in technology, process consulting, international business, entertainment, food, wine, and spirits to the table. A devotee of aesthetics, he blends science and art into the production of every bottle. His most distinguishing quality is his intense passion for philanthropy and focuses Gothic Gin on being a values-based company that dedicates 5% of profits to charitable work and community engagements.
Having studied viticulture and distillation for over 25 years, in 2018, Chris went on medical leave to handle a health issue and took a “bucket list” trip to Europe. While in Barcelona, he found a school offering a class on making gin. “At the time I did not really care for gin, but something compelled me to learn how to make this unique spirit. By studying how it is made, I fell in love with what gin is and can be,” elucidates Chris. “At the end of the class we did a blind tasting of everyone’s gin and mine won hands down. When asked by two professional distillers in the class to name my gin, I answered immediately: “Why it’s Gothic Gin, of course!” I was spontaneously inspired by my environment as our laboratory was in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona.”
Gothic Gin is made from the finest sustainable ingredients the earth offers, and Chris is working towards a strong commitment to preserving the planet’s remaining natural resources. The creative leader works with suppliers, vendors, and contractors who share their values and apply them in their operations and philanthropic work. They work with a single supplier who has a decades-long reputation of pursuing extremely high-quality botanicals grown, harvested, and supplied in as sustainable a fashion as possible. “We routinely check in with our supplier to ensure that they continue to follow their processes to ensure quality and sustainability,” adds Chris.
Talking about his unique distillery is in Petaluma, CA, Chris elucidates it by an expert team, including a Ph.D. Physicist. For him, distillation is one of the best examples of an art and science practice. “We run on a 1k liter Vendome copper “batch” still that is a combination pot and 5 tier column still. We start with the highest quality corn based neutral spirit that comes to us already distilled six times. We follow the London Dry Gin methodology and use traditional ingredients,” explains Chris. “We differentiate ourselves by two unique processes with eucalyptus and a vapor infusion of Valencia orange peel.” While copper has been used in distillation for thousands of years and Gothic Gin’s base recipe follows a 300-year long tradition, they also incorporate cutting-edge sensors and algorithms and can read and control the entire process via a laptop or phone.
For Chris, their first award—a Gold for American Contemporary Gin in 2019 at the World Gin Awards—was one of the biggest accomplishments. And, in 2020, they won the category as “Best American Contemporary Gin” at the World Gin Awards and a separate “Best in the USA” at the Gin Guide international competition and then a Gold at the Denver International competition. Talking about the days to come, Chris says he is growing distribution across the U.S. and gearing up to enter more contests, and has recently launched in Australia, and will be available in the E.U. and U.K. in the following months. “I am especially excited about an entire line of Gothic Gin “Ready-to-Drink” cocktails that we will bring to market by Spring 2021. These are custom made cocktails designed by some of the world’s best mixologists using our award-winning Gothic Gin as the alcohol. They will be marketed consistently with the Gothic Gin brand and bring our premium product to the “Grab and Go” market,” adds Chris.
Being an innovative leader, when the pandemic hit, Chris knew he had to adapt to change and fast. From a business perspective, when all their “on-premise” business (bars & restaurants) went away seemingly overnight, they directed their sales focus 100% to the “off premise” business in retail stores. Since all in-person marketing events also ceased to exist, they redirected marketing efforts and budget to online channels to maintain the luxury lifestyle brand and drive customers to the retail stores selling their product. “We assisted other businesses in sourcing ethanol to make hand sanitizer,” says Chris. “On the philanthropy front, we significantly increased our budget, time, and sponsorships on community engagements. We became a sponsor at the Raphael House in San Francisco and funded the delivery of several hundred meals and supplies to existing and newly homeless families and those at risk.”