Kathy caton brighton gin

Name: Kathy Caton

Job title: Founder & managing director

Company: Brighton Gin – Brighton Spirits Company Ltd

What was your first job? As quite a small child, learning how to butter bread with the back of a spoon so me and my sister could help my mum prepare sandwiches for her catering company’s buffets. I say “help”, but it was probably the easiest way to keep us quiet and out the way!

That aside, my first job after school was working as a gift wrapper for John Lewis.

What’s been your worst job interview? When I was trying to get my first break into the BBC, I ended up having four or five interviews with the same (quite miserable) guy for different roles. In the last interview I asked why he kept offering me interviews if he plainly wasn’t keen on offering me a role. Last interview with him! 

What was the first music single you bought? Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins. Great start, let down by Black Lace as the second!

How do you describe your job to your friends? Plate spinner and juggler of chainsaws and eggs.

“Every year we commission an LGBTQ+ artist to design our limited-edition Pride bottle, where the profits are donated to the Rainbow Fund”

What is the most rewarding part of your job? When people try Brighton Gin for the first time, and love it. Or when they think they don’t like gin, and try BG and their faces light up – that’s an amazing feeling. Also, when a stranger next door to me in the queue at a bar orders BG!

What is the least rewarding part? Fending off endless ‘dear sir/madam’ emails from wealthy PR/events companies asking us to support with a huge amount of cash, stock and staff time for “valuable exposure”.

Though it is quite entertaining when they’ve forgotten to update the brand in the email to Brighton Gin from the previous brand they were spamming!

What is your motto in life? Tits and teeth!

Brighton Gin Pride 2023 PRODUCT_by Will Parr

Brighton Gin’s 2023 Pride edition bottle

If you were allowed one dream perk, what would it be? I would love a 1950s-style PA. Fierce but friendly, who everyone was slightly scared of, who would help me make sure I did the things that need doing most, and said no on my behalf to everything else. 

Or a really cuddly distillery cat? Or a yearly thought retreat to Thailand…

Do you have any phobias? I’ve tried very hard to appreciate their role in the ecosystem, but spiders and me ain’t never going to be best buddies. 

I’m not good at the top of a ladder either.  Aluminium foil on teeth!  

If you could change one thing in grocery, what would it be? I wish there was a way to improve the relationship between buyers and producers, and that it could come down to the quality of the product and its provenance, and reduce the sway of “marketing budget”.

What luxury would you have on a desert island? It has to be a bottle of Brighton Gin.

What impact has your company’s support had on the LGBTQ+ community? I hope a really positive one on all sorts of fronts. For one, I’m incredibly proud that our team reflects the full LGBTQ+ spectrum – and that through that visibility, we’ve hopefully encouraged more people to come into our industry. 

Every year we commission (and pay fairly, importantly!) an LGBTQ+ artist to design our limited-edition Pride bottle, where the profits are donated to the Rainbow Fund, which is the local grant-giving organisation for grassroots queer community groups.

We also donate some of those bottles for fundraisers various. With our pub, Bottom’s Rest (opposite the stage door of The Old Market Theatre, please come and visit!) we have been able to take it back to its queer roots as a venue, reinvigorating a much-needed space.  


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What has been the most embarrassing moment in your life? I absolutely cannot commit that to the page, but happy to tell you over a pint at some point!

Which celebrity would you most like on a Pride parade float with you and why? LGBTQ+ ally and general gastronomic goddess Nigella Lawson.

What would your death row meal be? I’m a vegetarian, but that would slip for my last meal on earth – kicking off with plump hand-dived scallops with butter, garlic and chilli, and my mum’s roast beef with all the trimmings. Or would it be her fish pie filled with all sorts of gorgeous titbits?

For dessert, summer pudding with the best cream money can buy, and a cheese board that has to feature a Flower Marie, with some amazing sherry alongside or a really good sticky wine. After that lot I’ll probably have a heart attack, negating the need for anyone to bump me off on death row!