RUSTIC RESERVE is the Award-winning British-Bulgarian Craft Gin company that creates its unique London Dry Gin and Gin Infusion products from all natural Bulgarian herbs and fruits.
For many years Barbara Page-Roberts, a British businesswoman living in Bulgaria, had been gathering sloes (‘trunki’) initially from the hedgerows south of Pleven, and turning them into sloe gin, mainly as Christmas gifts for her friends – as was the tradition in the British countryside where she grew up. In 2015 she became acquainted with the agribusiness company Agrotime, (www.agrotime.com) in the Ludogorie region of Bulgaria, where sloes are abundant and flavourful. At the same time, she discovered that Agrotime in their fruit orchards near Isperih, grew a large number of Dogwood trees which produce cornels (‘drenki’) another tart fruit, much redder in colour than the sloes, and she decided to experiment with making ‘Drenki gin’ as well as Trunki gin. It was a huge success, especially for cocktails in summer.
Subsequently, in 2019, she set up Rustic Reserve OOD, in partnership with Ivan Krachunov of Agrotime and James Moseley of Opportunity Bulgaria, and the product range was expanded mainly to include Craft 19 gin, made with 19 Bulgarian botanicals, which was awarded a bronze medal by IWSC in London in 2019, and a gold medal in the Bohemian Spirit Awards in 2020. Craft 19 also forms the basis of our infusions made from hand-picked Bulgarian berries – of which we now have five types– sloe, cornel, wild blueberry, organic aronia and sour cherry. In 2020 George Koupenov, a life-long professional in the spirits and liqueurs business became a shareholder and took over from Barbara as Managing Director, to see the company through its next development phase.