Love

Like most beautiful stories- Tohi’s story started with love. For example, Priit, the creator of Tohi, has loved gin tonic for the last 20 years. One day, approximately 5 years ago, when the syrupy rum and cokes dominated bars in Estonia, it was finally noticed that gin had started to take over the world. Considering Priit’s decades-long love affair with gin and the favorable conditions at the time, it was a no-brainer to start his own gin production. Not from a great demand, it just seemed like a great idea. Priit’s plan to have his very own line of gin also appeared attractive to Siim and Tormi, Priit’s business partners for over 15 years running cafes, bars, nightclubs and so on…

Hello, Kohila, hello Tohisoo distillery!

It was decided that the place where the gin production was going to happen had to have some kind of history with alcohol. After about half an hour of browsing the real estate websites, a building was discovered: a distillery of an old manor house not far from Tallinn. Besides a large white chimney, this building had no actual signs that any distilling had ever taken place between those walls. But that was enough and in a weeks time the distillery was purchased. It turned out that the building had been last used as a purse factory as there were several sewing machines and different textiles and materials left behind, which by the way all found a new purpose and use.

How to make gin

Ok, so now there’s a distillery. And history. But can anyone actually make gin?

It turns out, as sad as it is, that there are not that may people in Estonia who have the necessary training and experience. Somehow we were still able to find out the useful information necessary to purchase the equipment and machinery.

It took two years to try to break bureaucracy and renovate the production space. We picked out the distilling equipment form a German manufacturer called Carl. Reliable German quality. Quint bottling machine came from Italy, stainless steal barrels from Slovakia, and pumps from Japan, laboratory technology from Germany.

As we were never able to spot a person capable of making a gin to our liking, we had to learn more about gin and figure it out ourselves. Countless hours online along with a seminar in Germany provided us a foundation to be able to create tens of different gin prototypes using our own basic distiller on top of a washing machine.

We found some good friends, sommeliers, and bartenders who agreed to taste all the madness that poured out of that machine. Eventually we did reach a point where our experimentation became drinkable AND enjoyable. And finally two rather interesting flavors got weeded out: cloudberry and pepper. While the spicy gin was left to wait its time, we decided it was best to start the introduction of TOHI gin to the World with the cloudberry variation.

Good book deserves a great cover

The name choice was easy. Thohisoo manor house = TOHI.

It almost sounds Japanese, but you can also think TOO HIGH, or see the play on words: TOHIB, EI TOHI [CAN, CAN NOT].

We also wanted to make sure that our Gin stood out on the shelves. We ordered one of a kind bottle design from the Järvakandi glass factory. Although the process took longer than we had hoped for, after seeing the final product we couldn’t be happier – it’s Estonian and it is our very own. To label the bottle we picked out something that catches one’s eye even in the dimmest of bars. We went with almost neon pink lettering on a dark background.

 Details create the whole

  • TOHI is created for optimists – there is a scale on the bottle that indicates whether the bottle is full, half full/empty, or empty. On the mark that suggests that half the bottle has been consumed, the scale still shows FULL. Therefore- TOHI’s bottle is always half full.
  • The bird with a ring got stripped from the coat of arms of Bellinghausen. The very own Bellinghausen who discovered the Antarctica and in some point of time owned the Tohisoo manor house.
  • TOHI gin is not handcrafted, it is heartcrafted. We leave a piece of our hearts in each of the gin batches distilled.
  • Cloudberry mist. Now, just picture a foggy, morning swamp covered in ripening cloudberries…

How is TOHI better than other gins?

It’s not necessarily better, however it is definitely one of a kind and most recognizable with that special hint of a cloudberry.

You will not find another gin like TOHI, it is unique and we believe in it!

What’s next?

Both consumers and distributors have pleasantly welcomed our product. We even have our first awards to show! TOHI gin can be found from any well-respected bars and supermarkets.

And now we’re off to concur the World! In a mean time we will open a visitor center with space for seminars, to offer the public an opportunity to come and see how we make this wonderful gin. We will offer gin tastings, food pairings and sell you a few T-shirts as well!