Phoebe Waller-Bridge launches Fleabag gin to help next generation of Edinburgh Festival Fringe performers

Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is to help the next generation of Edinburgh Festival Fringe artists – by bringing out her own gin inspired by the show’s origins at the event.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 12:04 am
Updated Monday, 5th July 2021, 2:26 pm
Only a few thousand of the limited edition bottles will be produced.
Only a few thousand of the limited edition bottles will be produced.

The multi award-winning actress, writer and producer, who launched Fleabag as a one-woman play eight years ago, has joined forces with Edinburgh Gin to create a limited edition bottle celebrating her famous character’s connections with the city.

It is hoped more than £150,000 will be raised for Fringe hopefuls through the collaboration.

Forged after Waller-Bridge became the first honorary president of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, the partnership has seen the production of several thousand bottles featuring a specially-created Fleabag-inspired screen print which will go on sale later this month.

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The design, which Waller-Bridge created with Edinburgh Gin, features the star looking into the night-sky in Edinburgh and the spot-lit chair she performed the first stage show on.

The screen print also recalls the final exchanges between Fleabag and her “Hot Priest” love interest, with Waller-Bridge handwriting the line “I Love You” and co-star Andrew Scott penning “It’ll Pass.”

Fleabag famously sparked a surge in sales of canned G&T thanks to a scene where the two main characters bond over drinks.

All proceeds from sales of the special edition Edinburgh Gin will be donated to the Fringe Society to help unknown and emerging artists create work for and appear at the event, which was cancelled last year in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and is due to go ahead in scaled-back form this August.

Phoebe Waller Bridge won a Scotsman Fringe First Award for the stage version of Fleabag in 2013. Picture: Esme Allen

Waller-Bridge said: “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 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.”

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.”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge was appointed the first honorary president of the Fringe Society earlier this year. Picture: Faye Thomas

Fleabag fans will be able to pre-register for exclusive access to a pre-sale of the bottles, which will be priced £48 each, on 20 July ahead of their general sale in time for the Fringe.

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.”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge has designed a Fleabag-inspired gin, with profits from the bottles to go to the festival where she debuted the show

The original stage production of Fleabag was premiered in Underbelly’s Cowgate venue at the 2013 Fringe. The TV adaptation, launched three later, went on to win BAFTA, Emmy and Golden Globe awards.

When Waller-Bridge unveiled as an official ambassador for the Fringe in February, she described the event as an “annual cultural revolution” and said she was “proud to be a part of the fight for its much needed survival and glorious return.”