Meet the Maker: Poacher’s Tonic Water

Poacher’s Well Premium Irish Tonic Water

With so much emphasis on the many high quality craft gins around the world, the ingredient that makes up almost 75% of the G&T is commonly ignored, almost like cooking a beautiful, juicy Irish Angus Striploin steak and burning it to a crisp! Connoisseurs will shiver when you say it doesn’t matter what tonic you put in the beverage. Well, it does,.a mass produced, chemical filled supermarket tonic, can drastically change the experience of a great gin, maybe even cause you to mistakenly dislike the gin in question. This is where premium tonic waters come in, made specifically to share the first class seats with the top gin distillers.

The Maker

Photo: Irish Independent

Meet Oisin, a mixologist, drinks consultant, award winning cocktail barman and founder of the Dublin Cocktail festival. He also runs a company called Great Irish Beverages. In his youth he has spent time abroad, learning cocktails that were pretty much unheard of in Ireland.

Oisin saw first hand the boom in popularity of great quality Irish gins, but he saw nothing Irish to compliment them with.He decided to take a risk and go about producing a brand new premium tonic water along with his business partner Vaughan Yates. With Irelands growing demand for local produce, I’m sure that there was no risk involved. I spoke with Oisin and asked him how it all came about and also a few insights and opinions on the Gin category. I was very impressed with the love put into making this water, its practically healthy for you in comparison to the other tonics on the shelves. I particulary like the story behind how they got the name “Poachers”


Hi Oisin! Thanks for meeting for a chat, tell us a little about how Poachers tonic water came around:

Hi john, I run the company Great Irish Beverages and we consult with Irish drinks brands. We specialise in product innovation, marketing and run a series of Irish drinks festivals and pop ups. In 2015, when I ran Dublin Gin & Tonic Fest, I saw there was quite a few new Irish gins on the market and heard about a lot more that were due to be released. This was because a lot of the new distilleries needed cash flow while their whiskies were ageing, so they were producing gins which can be turned around a lot quicker. Yet, with all of the new Irish gins, there was no premium Irish tonic to go with them. That’s when I decided to go about creating one.

Why did you call it Poachers Well?

One of our partners has an amazing water source in his family home in Wexford, so we knew that would be the water we would use to form the base of the product. But we were stuck for a name for the brand and one day when we were looking at an ordnance survey map of the land from 1825, his mother walked in and said, “Sure the Poachers have been helping themselves to that water since that map was made!” As soon as she said that, we had our name.

What makes Poachers tonic different from others?

To begin with, most tonic waters will contain anything from 8 – 10 grams of sugar and then many others will also have saccharin on top of that. This makes them very sweet and sickly. Poacher’s tonic has only 6.9 g of sugar which makes it very unique.

Secondly, it is 100% natural. Other tonics and soft drinks will use ingredients like yxrwbxvl_200x200aspartame, potassium sorbate and flavours that are chemically created. These are synthetic and while they might be cheap to utilise, they negatively affect the taste of the products. We worked with a perfumer in the UK to extract the natural botanicals like the Irish rosemary for Poacher’s. These are solely our property and nobody else has access to them. It’s an expensive and labour intensive process, but for us, there was no way we were taking any shortcuts and we wanted the very best for the development of the liquid.

Where is the tonic made?

It is made and bottled in Enniscorthy, which is a 20 minute drive from our water sourceactivitiers-map.

Do you use any local ingredients?

To begin with, the water comes from our own source in Wexford. And then we worked with a perfumer in the UK to extract the Irish rosemary, which gives it that herbal savoury taste. We also worked with them to extract other ingredients.

What in your opinion makes a great tonic water?

Natural tonic waters for me are the best. Synthetic ones are extremely cloying after more than one serve and they often kill the taste of the gin its mixed with. I’ve seen so many gins utterly ruined by supermarket own brand tonics in people’s houses and then in bars in America where tonics come out of soda guns. Life’s far too short for bad drinks!

In your years of experience, could you have imagined this explosion in the popularity of Gin and tonics?

I had done enough research to see that there would be a global resurgence in gins, but I did not think that there would be such an explosion in Irish gins. It delights me to see it though! The Irish are brilliant with drinks in every single area, it was just a matter of time before we fully embraced gins.

Whats your own favourite serve G&T?

I honestly don’t have a favourite. What I drink, whether its a beer or a G n T, is entirely dependent on my mood, the company and setting I’m in and indeed, who’s buying…

Where is your tonic available?

All of the O’Briens in ROI stock it as well many other independent off licences. Our distributor Tindal have done a great job with that and have also got it listed in hundreds of bars and restaurants around Ireland. In Northern Ireland, our distributor Prohibitiob Drinks have got it in some fantastic establishments. tindal-logo-high-res






Can you give our readers any other good uses for your tonic water?

If you haven’t tried it with Kalak Irish Vodka yet, you are seriously missing out. It’s a kalak-vodkasingle, all Irish malt that’s distilled four times and is ridiculously smooth and creamy. It pairs beautifully with Poacher’s.

Where to next for Poachers Well?

We have a Classic Tonic Water coming out in February. It will be like our first in that it’s made the same way with Irish and international ingredients and will have the same sugar level, but it won’t be as heavily scented. Our customers have expressed an interest in such a product to pair with more spicy gins. We have other developments to share but not quite yet, 2017 will be a rather busy year for us!

Oisin Davis



Thanks alot Oisin, if you wish to get in touch with Oisin, find him here:

Great Irish Beverages

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