Nearly a century after Prohibition, gin distilleries across America are booming, cranking out craft spirits that are quick to contend with big-name British brands. Taking a page from the farm-to-table trend, gin has become the preferred garden-to-glass spirit since its botanicals are often sourced locally and are able to reflect an area’s biodiversity. However, other than flavor, what’s driving some to seek out or start up their own craft distillery is quality. This goes back to the idea of connoisseurship. It’s not always about the most expensive brand or who’s been doing it the longest, it’s about possessing knowledge and paying attention to the little details. Today, quality gin can originate just about anywhere, including an independent small-batch distillery in Jersey City, New Jersey.

A love of fine spirits and an inspiration from his childhood dogs led Robert Hagemann to his present role as the sole founder of Corgi Spirits, Hudson County’s first and only liquor distillery. Robert became interested in craft cocktails and spirits after a trip abroad to Japan in 2004 when he spent time at the New York Bar, famously featured in “Lost in Translation”, and saw how "insanely committed" the bartenders were to crafting a single drink. When he returned home, fascinated by the passion he saw in Tokyo, Hagemann delved into old cocktail books and recipes, even working as a bartender for five months at one point. After starting his career in public accounting, moving on to earn his MBA from Harvard Business School, and working in marketing brand management at top consumer products companies, Robert decided to pursue his passion and strike out on his own. He wanted to create unique spirits by hand.

Having lived in Jersey City for a number of years, Robert saw it as the perfect home for a distillery that could serve as a part of the growing epicurean and cultural scene in Hudson County. Not only that, but Hagemann has also volunteered with local animal rescue groups in Jersey City and saw his new business as an opportunity to give back to the community and to help save animals lives while providing customers with a wonderful beverage experience.

Located in the Bergen-Lafayette district of Jersey City, it took Bob nearly three years to finally get the place up and running—and for those wondering, it is indeed named after the popular stubby-legged dog breed. Hagemann explained, “They were the perfect icon and symbol for the brand. I wanted it to be something that had a pedigree to it—they’re the dogs of The Queen of England so they do have that rich heritage. But if anyone has ever met a Corgi in person, you know that they’re the goofiest and most fun-loving dogs in the entire world. And at the end of the day, we make spirits here, so it has to be fun.”

Corgi Spirits takes an uncompromising approach to innovation that is matched only by a tireless commitment to partnering with charities and the local community. While respecting and valuing the traditions and expertise of the master gin distillers who paved the way, Robert is deeply committed to innovation in pursuit of the extraordinary. Their spirits are distilled either from “The Copper Lady”, a Kentucky-made copper Vendome Still, or their new European modern iStill500, (which resembles an Apple computer and is operated by an app).

Corgi Spirits’ range is currently comprised of their one-of-a-kind Earl Grey Gin made with premium Earl Grey tea, their aromatic and floral Pembroke Gin, and their luxuriously smooth Saddlecoat Vodka, as well as seasonal limited-edition releases. High quality potato spirit, known to be a remarkably smooth and more expensive base, provides an ideal canvas for carefully selected botanicals to harmoniously combine bold and subtle flavors that are perfectly balanced yet refreshingly vibrant.

Corgi Spirits’ Earl Grey Gin is a fusion of the classic London Dry style gin, woven with a tangle of exotic aromatics and comes colored like the burnished hue of authentic, Earl Grey Tea. Bright, citrus aromatics rise to the surface of the glass, coating the inside of your nose, offering more than the expected jolt from the expected flavor of the juniper berries. The depth of the deeply potent, Earl Grey Tea makes you take notice of this gin’s uncompromising quality without forcing any one aromatic or flavor down your throat. The length of flavor and the texture added from the tannins of the tea make this magnificent gin completely unlike anything on the market. It's not sweet, and it certainly is memorable. Corgi Spirits has created many cocktail recipes, all of which sound incredibly delicious. Below is just a sample of a few:



2.5 oz Corgi Spirits Earl Grey Gin

0.5 oz dry vermouth

Lemon twist for garnish


Fill a mixing glass with ice, add gin and vermouth. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.




2 oz Corgi Spirits Earl Grey Gin

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice

0.75 oz honey syrup (2 parts honey : 1 part water)

3 dashes Angostura bitters

Hot water

Cinnamon stick and lemon wedge for garnish


Combine gin, lemon juice, syrup and bitters in a heatproof mug and add hot water. Stir to combine. Add cinnamon stick and lemon wedge as garnish.



2 oz Corgi Spirits Earl Grey Gin

1 oz condensed milk

2 oz cold brew coffee

2 dashes Angostura Bitters


Fill a shaker with ice, add all ingredients and shake vigorously. Pour into a highball glass and garnish with nutmeg.



1 oz Corgi Spirits Earl Grey Gin

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz simple syrup (1 part sugar : 1 part water)

Sparkling wine

Lemon twist for garnish


Fill a shaker with ice, add gin, lemon juice, syrup and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled champagne glass and top with sparkling wine. Add lemon twist.

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