A range of festive alcoholic drinks created by a Salford entrepreneur have hit the shelves in Booths supermarkets across the North West.
Michelle Partington, who lives in Salford, started Shelly’s Drinks 18 months ago after she was approached by Christmas Market organisers.
They asked her if she wanted to run a drinks stall, but she couldn’t sell prosecco, gluhwein or beer. Faced with these limits, Michelle decided gin and rum was the way to go.
The first product the company launched was a mulled gin – blending London dry gin with apple juice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Ms Partington said: ‘’We sold the gin in Christmas mugs you get on the markets from Cathedral Gardens and everyone loved it.
‘’Seeing the reaction to that I felt it was something that needed to be bottled and sent out to retailers, so after Christmas I approached a company who volume produced the drink.
‘’I then presented the drink to Booths in August and they had already completed their Christmas buying, but they really liked it so the buyer Pete decided to take 86 cases.
‘’Phenomenally, Booths ended up selling 956 cases in eight weeks.
‘’The gin being so successful was fantastic.’’
With the gin flying off the shelves, Booths approached Michelle and asked her to develop more products.
That’s how Shelly’s Drinks began.
Michelle explains: ‘’I have a degree in furniture design and I taught foundation art and design for a while.
‘’I’d never planned on owning my own business, I just fell into it.
‘’I started my own street food business Lakeland Picnic 12 years ago and that was a lot of hard work to get it to where it is today.
‘’I have a stall on the Christmas Markets in Albert Square with this business.
‘’The organisers at the Christmas Markets knew I was open to opportunities so I was lucky to be given the chance to do a drinks stall.’’
The Christmas Market stall has now resulted in ‘Shelly’s Drinks’ being sold in 28 Booths stores across the North West.
Michelle has gone on to create a new winter drink this year with her winter rum to sit alongside her mulled gin.
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The winter rum would be heated up and served warm as you would with a mulled product – perfect for those cold winter nights.
Not in the festive mood? You’re in luck
Michelle has also produced other gins to tickle your fancy such as raspberry ripple, Manchester tart and fig, vanilla and cardamom flavours.
Michelle said: ‘’The raspberry ripple gin was Booths biggest ever spirit launch in history, they sold 1,200 bottles in the first week.
‘’So, that particular gin captured people’s imaginations.
‘’I also have a fig, vanilla and cardamom gin which is quite an unusual and unique flavour.
‘’It’s slightly spiced, almost like a liquorice taste. So, it’s quite different from other drinks.
‘’I have a Manchester tart gin which is based on the Manchester tart cake. I think that’s been particularly popular in Manchester because of the connection. It goes down quite well.’’
Michelle has spoken about the ethos of her business
She said: ‘’I quite like developing drinks that have a lower alcohol by volume (ABV).
‘’My philosophy is that I don’t want people to get crazy drunk, I just want people to enjoy them socially.
‘’The mulled gin is 15% ABV whereas the other gins I have are 23% ABV.
The rum products I’ve got are slightly stronger at 29.9% ABV, but still not as strong as full strength spirits which are 37.5%.’’
Michelle’s goal for 2019 is to continue creating unique flavours of gins and rums. She has also expressed her desire to go into vodka production.
She continued: ‘’It’s been a nice journey because it’s something that has been extremely positive out of somebody telling me well you can’t do this, you can’t do that, and you can’t do the other, so it’s been a good journey so far.’’
Shelly’s Drinks are available at Booths stores in the North West, including their Salford MediaCityUK branch.