Young Scot goes from selling gin to schoolmates to launching own brand

Bruce Walker founder of Purist Gin

A young Glaswegian once sent home from school for selling his homemade gin to classmates has distilled his teenage rebellion into a spirits business.  

Bruce Walker, from Broomhill, launched Purist Gin during England’s Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. The initial plan to make bespoke gins for small retailers, bars and restaurants, scuppered by the closure of hospitality venues, morphed into launching his own brand: Purist Gin. 

With help from mum Colette Filippi, who left a senior role in the public sector to join her son’s burgeoning business, Bruce has managed to produce and sell more than a thousand bottles in under a year.

Bruce Walker, founder of Purist Gin, with mum Colette Filippi. Credit: Elaine Livingstone

As well as supporting himself, Bruce is aiming to help local artists through his brand. Each batch of Purist Gin has a unique label produced by an independent artist and Bruce is currently inviting photographers, sculptors, painters and graphic designers across Scotland to apply to create a label for the next batch.

Bruce, 22, said: “I first began distilling gin for my pals at parties. It tasted great and always went down very well – a little too easily perhaps. I’d like to think my taste and talent has developed since then, as have my processes.

“When lockdown hit and with no business to speak of, it was fight or flight time. Looking back, I’m incredibly proud that I’ve managed to persevere and build a business which makes excellent gin and has a great reputation.  

“Our gins are growing in popularity with website sales increasing. I’m now working to help even more people discover our gin. I can’t wait to enjoy Purist in bars and restaurants across Scotland as hospitality reawakens.”

Purist Gin range
Purist Gin range. Credit: Elaine Livingstone

Colette added: “Bruce has always marched to the beat of his own drum… But when he puts his mind to something, there’s no limit to what he can achieve. As soon as I tasted the gin I knew Bruce was on to something. I really can’t wait for more people to try it as the feedback so far has been incredible.”  

Purist Gin is distilled using a ‘one-shot’ method. So far three varieties have been released: Purist Gin, Purist Marble and Purist Black 57. They have been on sale through the Purist Gin website alongside work from the brand’s partner artists, who receive a share of the profits from each bottle sold.

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