Edinburgh Gin have unveiled an exclusive and limited edition Gin Classic release, designed personally by Fleabag creator and Fringe Society President, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Filled with hidden details, it tells the inside story of Fleabag and its connection to the distillery's home city of Edinburgh, from her one-woman play to global success. Fleabag famously sparked a surge in sales of canned Gin & Tonic thanks to a scene where the two main characters bond over drinks. Determined that others should also be able to enjoy the wonder of Edinburgh, Phoebe has created an original Fleabag bottle, sharing her perspective on the journey from one-woman theatre production, to iconic, multi award-winning TV show.
Phoebe explains:“Gin and theatre are my two great loves. We wanted this bottle to capture a glimpse of Edinburgh in all her mystery and wonder, through the eyes of Fleabag who found her first home there. I hope every purchase inspires outrageous and creative conversations over ice while bringing the beloved Fringe festival back to life. It’s important to add that Andrew Scott hand wrote a message on the bottle… if that isn’t incentive enough to hunt one down and hold it against your cheek, I don’t know what is.”
The bittersweet heartbreak of Fleabag's final exchanges with Andrew Scott's "Hot Priest" have been immortalised in the bottle design, which is screen-printed and signed. This is a rare release that will never be repeated, and every penny of profit from this collaboration will go to Edinburgh Festival Fringe performers in 2022, creating valuable financial support for artists.
Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy said: “This collaboration will be a much-needed lifeline to so many Fringe artists, it will enable them to get back to doing what they do best.”
With the arts industry so badly affected by Coronavirus, and festivals unable to take place as they normally would, performers continue to lose more than a rite of passage, they miss out on opportunity. Thus, all profits from the collaboration will be contributed to an arts recovery fund, with subsidies allotted to help the next generation of talent to return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2022, its 75th anniversary. It is hoped that more than £150,000 will be raised.
For over 70 years, Edinburgh has offered the world a stage through the biggest arts festival in the world. This has brought people together and given valuable opportunities to new and emerging talent. Phoebe Waller-Bridge's breakthrough show Fleabag took place at the Fringe in 2013 at Underbelly's Cowgate venue, and was met with overwhelming praise and rave reviews. The show earned an Olivier Award nomination and a Special Commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, whilst the hit BBC television adaptation went on to earn several accolades including BAFTA, Emmy and Golden Globe awards. In February, Phoebe Waller-Bridge was appointed in the role of President of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. The position, which is the first of its kind, will see Waller-Bridge act as a representative and advocate for the Fringe Society, the charity that exists to support everyone who wants to participate in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Speaking about the appointment, Phoebe Waller-Bridge said: “The Edinburgh Fringe has staged an annual cultural revolution for decades. It’s where thousands of writers, comedians, performers and artists cut their teeth and put their most raw work out into the world. Whether it’s a two hander in a shoebox, a gig in a van, a promenade through the streets or a mammoth musical epic, this festival is a global symbol of artistic freedom and experimentation. It relies on its audiences and it relies on its artists. It’s where the relationship between the two is feverishly consummated, sometimes with great success, sometimes with awkward fumbles behind an inflatable cow, but always with unbridled passion and creativity. From leaking caves to cobbled streets to the glamour of the Traverse Theatre up to Arthur’s seat, this festival is a beating heart of an industry that has been all but crushed by the pandemic, and I’m proud to be a part of the fight with the Fringe Society for its much needed survival and glorious return.”
Edinburgh Gin brand director Neil Mowat said: "It has been an honour to work with Phoebe. She’s an incomparable talent – an amazing writer, actor and producer – who was so generous with her time, her stories and her care in bringing this project to life. What we’ve created together is sort of a love letter to the magic of Edinburgh, filled with Fleabag details that fans will recognise. Its significance lies though in the help it will offer other performers who are early on in their careers. Hundreds of people will now be able to access support for expenses like travel, accommodation, rehearsal and venue spaces."
Only a few thousand screen-printed bottles will be available to buy, the first of which will go on sale on 20th July to those who sign up in advance on Edinburgh Gin's website. The bottles, priced at £48, are expected to go on general sale from early August before being delivered in August, during the Fringe Festival. For more information please visit: https://www.edinburghgin.com/phoebe-waller-bridge