If there was a pill for happiness, then it would arguably be the most sought-after prescription on the planet. For all the hours we work, and efforts we put into just running our daily lives, when you boil it all down, being happy is ultimately what life is all about.
It’s time and again what old people say they would tell their younger selves. Chase your dreams yes, but make sure you are happy. That’s what counts.
It’s also what your doctor would prescribe too. A happy person is likely to have less chance of cardiovascular disease, has lower blood pressure, sleeps better, has a healthy diet, and finds it easier to maintain normal body weight through regular exercise and less stress. It also means we have better relationships, get on with people better, and can cope when things go wrong.
The Covid pandemic, though, has thrown all our emotions in the air, and made it increasingly difficult to live anything like a normal life. It has also made us re-evaluate our lives and start to appreciate and recognise what is important to us. It has made us more anxious, unsure, and nervous about our surroundings and what the future holds.
It has resulted in what has been dubbed as the “great resignation” as thousands of people have come out of lockdown, comes off furlough, and decided to turn their back on their stressful, pre-Covid days, spending hours a day commuting and chasing their tails, and have chosen a new lifestyle with one central thing in mind. To be happy.
Happiness is what we all crave. Take a look at Spotify’s download charts where streams of Pharrel Williams’ Happy - the ultimate feel-good tune - topped 1 billion coming out of lockdown. Three minutes and 52 seconds of music that can’t fail but put a smile on your face.
It does, though, seem increasingly hard to feel happy when we are still coming out of a global pandemic, are in the midst of a war in Ukraine, and a cost of living crisis that is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.
Take back control
But what we can try and do is control our little worlds. What we do, and how we lead our lives. Book stores are full of self-help books on “How to be Happy” showing ways in which we can take greater control of our feelings just by making small changes, be it taking regular exercise, turning negative thoughts into positive ones, making lists of the good things in your life and the things you can do to make you feel happy. Sitting down and listening to a certain type of music, watching a favourite TV show, a feel-good movie, treating yourself to an afternoon cup of tea and cake.
Or enjoying a nice homemade gin and tonic, or a specially prepared negroni or martini perhaps?
That’s exactly what a new gin brand wants to offer. A gin made, quite simply, to make you smile. To make you happy. In fact, Quokka Gin is on a happiness mission.
“We want to use Quokka Gin to promote happiness, well being and build a community of happy and optimistic people who are willing to share and support each other,” says founder and drinks professional, Sid Patel, who has over 20 years experience as a drinks professional working with leading brands and cocktail venues on drinks he knows are going to make consumers happy.
Patel recognises that consumers have changed during the pandemic and are now seeking out products, services, and retailers that can mean something to them. Brands with a purpose and a set of values they can believe in and invest in.
That’s what Quokka gin hopes to live up to. It is named after the ‘Quokka’ which is part of the wallaby family in Australia and has become famous as the happiest animal in the world as it is always smiling.
Open up the box containing a bottle of Quokka and the first thing you see is a Quokka nestling in a tree smiling at you on the label. You can’t help but smile back.
That’s what ultimately it is all about, says Patel. A brand you can turn to at the end of the day that you know is going to put a smile on your face. A brand built on the back of five core values: optimism; positivity; kindness; gratitude; and empathy.
“Those are the values that mean the most to us, but we also know they are the values by which our potential Quokka gin lovers want to live their lives,” says Patel.
A 100-point brand
But you can’t just rely on a cute critter to sell your brand and then get people coming back to buy another bottle. For that, you have to need to have a quality product. This is where Patel has been able to tap into all his years of experience working with bars, bartenders, and mixologists to create a gin he knows they want to drink - because they have helped him make it.
In all Patel has been able to get the advice, support, and feedback from up to 15 leading bartenders from some of the world’s best bars in London and asked them to help craft, guide, and create a gin that would be worth 100 points and a listing in their prestigious venues.
A gin that would make them happy to work with and serve their customers. A gin they are also happy for those customers to buy direct and then go and try and make the kind of classic cocktails they usually enjoy in their bars at home.
It is that connection between the talents behind the bar, and the gin lovers that buy a bottle of Quokka gin that Patel believes is where the magic can happen. Where people can truly enjoy the experience of making a top-quality drink in the comfort of their home that they know is going to make them happy.
"Experiences are now as important as the brands themselves", adds Patel. “People want to build and share memories with their friends and they want to engage with brands that can help them do that.”
As Ewan McGregor keeps reminding us on TV with adverts for Expedia “it’s the experiences in life that matter most –, not the stuff”. What products and services are going to help you have those experiences? That’s what Quokka gin wants to offer. A high-quality cocktail bar standard gin that you can buy and serve to your friends at home.
Patel recognises it is a tall order to introduce a new gin to an already fiercely competitive category. But whilst the botanicals and the secret ingredients that make up a bottle of Quokka gin are crucial in getting the brand right, it is the connection the brand can have with its customers and how it can hopefully make them smile every time they pick up a bottle.
“That’s where the happiness lies and that’s what it is all about,” he says.