WHAT a difference 15 months make, writes Camilla Brown of drinks company Collagin.

Last time I wrote for the Oxford Mail was May 2017 when my business partner, Liz Beswick, and I had just launched Young In Spirit, a company set to shake up the drinks industry by adding collagen to spirits.

In March 2017 our first product was born, a gin, aptly named Collagin.

I’m based in Appleton and Liz from Cassington. We met when we worked at a local marketing agency together in 2015.

Since then it’s been a blur of festivals, new products, slaps on the wrists from advisory boards, TV appearances, celebrity fans, and hundreds of stockists... oh, and a new baby boy, thanks to Liz and her husband Jonty.

Unfortunately Liz didn’t go for the name suggestion of ‘Colin Jim’.

So in the last two years, what started as a mere marketing stunt has become a media sensation worldwide and stocked in multiple countries.

Pretty impressive for two girls who’ve never run their own drinks business before, or have any experience of the industry!

It hasn’t been easy but we wouldn’t change it for the world.

If we knew the blood, sweat and tears that would be involved we’d have no doubt stayed at our comfortable, safe jobs.

But nothing beats seeing your baby being enjoyed, discussed and shared by so many people.

So, what’s happened since last May? Where to start... from showcasing Collagin at over 20 festivals, including Taste of London, BBC Good Food Show and The Oxford Gin Festival, to launching our sell out miniatures, not to mention appearing on Sky News, BBC Oxford, Jazz FM, Jack FM and many more, as well as the press coverage worldwide.

It’s been a pretty amazing journey so far.

One of the biggest ‘pinch me moments’ has been increasing the number of new stockists. Since last year we’ve launched with hundreds of new retailers and venues, including NotOnTheHighStreet, Amazon, Littlewoods, Fenwick, and Ocado.

At the end of August we will be launching in every single John Lewis store in the country, so make sure you head to the new Westgate to see us on shelves!

We’re in lots of shops and restaurants around the UK and Europe, and for local people you can pick up bottles at Crazy Bear Farm Shop, Millets Farm, Appleton Village Shop, Yarnton Nurseries and enjoy a Skin & Tonic at The White Rabbit, Oxford Retreat, The Fishes, Jacobs Inn, The Woodstock Arms, just to name a few.

In other exciting news, we’ve recently launched a limited edition Collagin Pink Rose.

We are on a mission to beautify the world of spirits and create products that could sit on a back bar but also a beauty counter, and we think our bottles do exactly that.

With the addition of the rose, which still stays subtle and smooth but will appeal to gin lovers with a sweeter tooth, stunning with a matching pink hue of the label.

We have some very exciting things coming up, including a well known TV show we can’t talk about just yet!

In terms of expansion, we are keeping an eye on the next trend in spirits and cocktails as well as in talks with some great companies about collaborations.

Next year our focus is on expanding internationally, launching new products and making sure Liz’s son learns the ropes, he is the Collagin heir after all.

  • Taste it: Young In Spirit will be offering tastings of their collagen gin at the John Lewis store in the Westgate, Oxford on Saturday, September 8, from noon to 4pm