Former England Rugby Stars Release Fundraising Dry Gin
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‘Unofficial Spirit of Rugby’: Former England Rugby Stars Release London Dry Gin Designed to ‘Protect the Future’ of the Sport

(Photo: Blackeye Gin)

In collaboration with television presenter Alex Payne, former England rugby stars Mike Tindall and James Haskell have introduced Blackeye Gin, a London dry designed to help support the future of rugby

Deeming it the “unofficial spirit of rugby,” the trio partnered with Berkshire-based gin maker Hawkridge Distillers to craft the Blackeye Gin recipe. The gin promises a fusion of zesty citrus, delicate florals and juniper, paired with botanicals sourced from popular rugby nations.

“We’re thrilled to be launching Blackeye Gin,” Tindall shared, per The Spirits Business. “It’s been a journey full of challenges, but a whole lot of fun too. James, Alex, and I have had various battles along the way – both on and off the pitch – and the name reflects the physical and emotional resilience and kinship we share.”

“I think it really captures the essence of what this brand is all about – for those who give their best even when times are hard, and celebrate the good times.”

Beyond crafting a unique gin, the founders have a broader goal: to support the future of rugby. They’ve established the Blackeye Fund, supported by an advisory board and the global rugby community. A portion of £1.50 ($2) from each bottle sold will fuel the fund, focusing on research, risk management and recovery for rugby players — both past and present. The fund aspires to address industry challenges and become one of rugby’s leading benefactors within the next five years.

According to The Spirits Business, the 40%-ABV Blackeye Gin arose from the enthusiastic response of listeners to the founders’ podcast, The Good, The Bad, & The Rugby, who suggested the idea of creating a gin. The name “Blackeye Gin” is a nod to the physicality of rugby and “riding the storm and celebrating the sunshine,” per the brand.

Blackeye Gin can be purchased at Master of Malt, select Sainsbury’s stores and online at for £35.95 ($46) per bottle. Additional global retailers are set to be announced in anticipation of the Rugby World Cup in September, The Spirits Business reported.

There appears to be a mysterious attraction between the sport of rugby and gin. Just last month, Scottish spirits brand Union XV emerged, launching a gin made with botanicals sourced from popular rugby-loving nations around the globe. And in June, former professional Welsh rugby player, Sam Davies, introduced his own gin brand called Toca Vida.

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Candie Getgen is the managing editor for Gin Raiders. Before immersing herself in the world of spirits journalism, Candie has been many things: a bartender, a literary journal editor, an English teacher — and even a poet. Now, Candie shares her passion for gin with the world and hopes to help others fall in love with it, too (if they haven't already!). When not writing, Candie enjoys sipping a Negroni while drawing or relaxing by the pool with a campy mystery novel.