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January 10, 2019
Commerce

Gin Pangolin does not contain pangolins

The first spirit from second generation distiller Lindon Lark and business partner Geordan Elliss will funnel cash to Cambodia and global charities engaged in the protection of these incredible mammals. Drink up!

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  • Words: Joshua Fanning
  • Images: Supplied
  • Image 04: Lindon Lark & Geordan Elliss

We’ve only just discovered pangolins and, already, they’re endangered. And doesn’t that just sum up the 21st Century?

Human knowledge and technology grows at an exponential rate – meanwhile – myriad unique lifeforms become extinct.

Remarks

Support Gin Pangolin and its efforts to sustainably contribute to the ongoing efforts to protect pangolins worldwide via their crowdfunding initiative.

CityMag has pitched in the first $100, because we love this cause (and the gin tastes good).

Just look at the rhinoceros – an absolute weapon-of-a-creature that’s every bit as gnarly as a velociraptor and yet holds nowhere near the social capital or wonder of the long-extinct, knife-toed dinosaur Jurassic Park markets to us as “intelligent”.

The movie-going public are happy to buy the concept that if someone could bring dinosaurs back from extinction then they’d be an instant billionaire. At the same time, we seem incapable of seeing the value of our planet’s existing biodiversity and the (almost literal) dinosaurs living amongst us. It feels like homo sapiens are stuck with scarcity as the only trigger our tiny little economic brains recognise when evaluating what things are worth.

As supply and demand goes – a pangolin fetches $700 in Cambodia.

Sim Leeheng tries Gin Pangolin for the first time

In a country where the average wage is $3 a day, $700 is serious motivation for humans to hunt this creature.

Lindon Lark has just returned to Adelaide from a trip to Cambodia where he met a reformed pangolin poacher Sim Leeheng. Sim (pictured) now works full time in conservation of pangolin habitats and breeding programs funded by international charities.

You may remember Lindon from this article we wrote on his business, Blend Etiquette after he and Geordan Elliss received a Venture Catalyst Grant to build upon their successful crowdfunding campaign for Snake Oil Tonics.

Now Lindon and Geordan are launching a gin – Gin Pangolin.

“We chose to call the gin ‘Gin Pangolin’ after learning about the plight from my mum, Felicity, who has ties to NGOs in Cambodia. She came across a pangolin in her travels and started to educate herself as well as us on all things pangolin,” says Lindon.

Lindon and Geordan are launching a crowdfunding campaign for Gin Pangolin with 10% of funds raised from the campaign going to SavePangolins.org.

“After vetting a bunch of organisations, we found Save Pangolins and approached them to see if they would consider working with us,” says Lindon. Lindon signed the agreement with Save Pangolins this week.

The crowdfunding campaign will help Lindon and Geordan purchase a still and move production out of borrowed space and into their own facility in Adelaide. Even better – if the crowdfunding campaign is successful, Pangolin Gin will give 10% of profits to Save Pangolins forever!

“If the campaign is successful and we can buy a still, we will enter into a new agreement with Save Pangolins that will give them 10% of all net profits raised from Gin Pangolin sales,” says Lindon.

If we’ve got to drink gin to save these weird little bug-looking ant-eaters that Pixar couldn’t have done a better job imagining – then – so be it.

And with gin’s nation-wide popularity, it’s just the sort of slacktivist cause most Adelaideans and – indeed – Australians will be able to get behind.

Lindon laughs at our assertion the campaign should be easy. A crowdfunding veteran, he’s well aware of how hard it can be to gain traction and also how difficult it is to communicate clearly and effectively Gin Pangolin’s mission.

For instance, Lindon recounts an early conversation with Sim Leeheng, who was worried people would think pangolin was used in the making of the gin.

“‘No one in Australia will think we’ve used pangolin to make our gin’, I said to him, ‘and anyone who buys the gin thinking there’s pangolin in it – I’m happy to trick into buying the product that ends up making sure pangolins are used in less and less products.'”

The gin isn’t just a feel good thing, it tastes good too.

Lindon’s family is well-revered in the Australian distilling industry. Lindon’s father, Jon, founded Kangaroo Island Sprits, Australia’s first dedicated gin distillery. His uncle, Bill Lark, founded Lark Distillery in Tasmania in 1992 – and is widely regarded as Australia’s preeminent whisky maker.

This first foray into spirits by the Blend Etiquette duo will no doubt have ramifications beyond gin, with Geordan indicating whisky is her end goal.

In the meantime however, Gin Pangolin is a beachhead in the fight against apathy.

You may have never heard of pangolins before, and you may never see one in your lifetime, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drink to their health and be happy that a little of your hard-earned $AUD is going towards efforts to make these beautiful little creatures less and less attractive to poachers.

 

 

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