Co-founder, Alex Robson, talks about distilling gin in central London, using traditional methods and a unique recipe.

The King of Soho gin is name after Paul Raymond, the original King of Soho, an entertainment and property tycoon who played a pivotal role in the cultural and social liberation of British society from the 1950s is the inspiration behind the brand.

Distilled in the heart of London using traditional methods; King of Soho gin is crafted using twelve botanicals, combining citrusy grapefruit with classic juniper to create a perfectly balanced London Dry Gin. The bold and colourful design of the bottle embodies the characteristics that make Soho unique; a celebration of the Soho spirit.

Founded by Paul's son, Howard Raymond and Alex Robson, who has since become known as the "Queen of Gin. Alex's career has taken her from shipping in Russia, working on space projects for the Commander of Apollo 15 to founding her own London Gin!

Here Alex tells us about the business journey thus far.

We came up with the idea...


Over a classic gin martini– it was one of those ‘can do’ moments late one night in a dimly lit bar with business partner Howard Raymond, an idea that took on a momentum and life of its own - out of this ‘The King of Soho Gin’ was born. It was over seven years ago, so we went away, did a bit of research and spotted a renewed appetite for gin and a gap in the market for a high-quality and beautifully designed spirit, so like true entrepreneurs we went for it.

Gin had been the drink of both our fathers and as it was not long after the death of Howard’s father we decided what better way to celebrate his life than to create a spirit in his name. Howard’s father was the famous property and entertainment mogul Paul Raymond, the original ‘King of Soho’, a man who knew all about having a good time - he was quite the foxy guy!

With this inspiration in mind, we got to work to create an exquisite Super Premium Distilled London Dry Gin. We knew what our gin should taste like and found an 11the generation master distiller, whose family had started distilling around the same time as the word ‘Soho’ was coined by the Duke of Monmouth for that area of London – out of this serendipity was crafted a smooth and bold libation – The King of Soho London Dry Gin.

The biggest challenge...


Was the design of the bottle, how to reflect the past and present of Soho Life; the fun, creativity and anything goes attitude - that ‘Soho Spirit’. We created a ‘Spirit of Soho’ character to adorn our bold and colourful bottles. The icon in his rich velvet suit and red top hat is holding a book and a trumpet, reflecting Soho’s long association with fashion, literature music and art. The fox’s tail, is a nod to both Soho’s past as a royal hunting ground, and also to the nature of urban Soho - the fox being a naughty, enigmatic creature of the night. The next challenge was taking a very intricate and detailed design and applying it to the bottle. The design is screen printed and the technology is cutting edge – it gives a painted on tactile feel and that is important to us – you don’t get that with a label.



The average day is spent…


Firing the furnaces, galvanising the team and turning the wheels of the business. As CEO I am responsible for the day to day operations and there is no average day, I do not work in a 9 to 5 world – I never have. I do try to make sure that Monday is a desk day and Friday is always about gin cocktails.

The team consists of...


Myself, a small team of about 5 and of course Howard, we then have the extended team of suppliers and distributors. It’s all about team work, it’s what lies at the that heart of our culture. We are very much a family business.

My favourite quote…


“I am not lucky,” Shonda Rhimes wrote, “You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”



I am where I am today because of...


A lot of hard work, focus and tenacity – having a good idea is only half the challenge. I am lucky as I have the ability to shut everything out – I grew up with a lot of noisy older siblings, I had to learn how to concentrate in the midst of mayhem and how to shine without shouting the loudest from a young age.

I am who I am because of ...


Myself, it’s not just about the journey and the people you meet on the way, it’s about how you respond, assimilate and use that knowledge to evolve. At the end of the day only you can take responsibility for that.

The best bit of digital advice I've been given is...


Don’t forget about the algorithms…

In five years I’d like to be…


I quite like where I am now, although in five years I expect life to be a little bit bigger, a little bit more colourful and to have a few more countries under my red top hat.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business...


Is the level of perseverance and resilience that is required; the beginning of any new business is always a learning curve. When we started West End Drinks all I knew was how to drink gin not how to make it, the learning curve was steep but I didn’t have a choice.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us…


I don’t think in terms of mistakes but experiences, sometimes what looks like a mistake turns out not to be and vice versa, so life has taught me to hold judgement. Any business is a journey and my ‘experiences’ have taught me that hindsight really is a beautiful thing.

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date…


For me it was creating the Variorum Pink Gin - that was very much my passion. I was the driving force behind the new line and I even came up with the name! In literature, a variorum edition is an original work with notes – the original London Dry recipe lies at the heart of our new pink gin; fresh strawberry and floral chamomile lead on a wave of soft juniper with a suggestion of citrus. Crafted in London, it reflects the modernity and innovation of our brand and the ever-changing spirit that is Soho.

August 2019