You may have heard on the grapevine that we are now producing gin. The project started as an embryo of an idea about 18 months ago and we released the first batch of our dry gin at Easter.
You may well be asking why it has taken until now to start shouting about it. The answer is simple – it has proven to be so popular that we just have not been able to produce enough to keep up with demand, let alone create more!
The idea came about after a conversation Nathan, our manager, had with a fellow brewer in Liverpool on a cold March evening after several pints of inspiration. The seed was sown and a few months later when Helen, landlady at our pub – The Old Crown, asked in passing “Have you ever thought about making gin?” the answer was “yes”. Thus, our new gin was born.
First, we developed a basic gin recipe which we were happy to use as a base to layer our carefully chosen selection of botanicals over the top. We worked with Si and Helen from the pub to select local plant species we could forage and use to create a gin that is unique to us and of the area. Finally, we produced four different blends of the base gin with our chosen botanicals and held some blind-tasting sessions. Unusually for tastings such as this, the result was unanimous, with every participant selecting the same blend.
We had our recipe.
As any marketeer will tell you, packaging is key to any successful product. When we started looking for a container to house our gin, we soon realised that we would be limited to the same selection of glass bottles that every other small producer has access to (that’s why all small/medium producers bottles look the same). We knew our bottle must be fit for purpose and re-cyclable (this was not up for discussion) and had to catch the eye when on a shelf. We also knew we could not afford the capital (or space!) to have a bespoke bottle made for us. So, we started to look at aluminium bottles as an alternative and hit upon the (we think genius) idea of using a hiker’s water bottle – they are ubiquitous with walkers and outdoors types, reusable and recyclable at the end of life.
We had our bottle.
We distil our gin ourselves, at the brewery, with carefully selected botanicals – some of which are foraged locally, specifically gorse, heather and oak. We use the finest specification neutral spirit we can find, produced from grain with a very subtle flavour to it and very low levels of unwanted congeners. Some of the botanicals are macerated overnight to extract the flavour compounds we are after, the remainder are suspended in a basket within the still so that the extraction process is much gentler and again, takes out only the flavours we want.
The result is a very smooth, 42% ABV gin that is reminiscent of the fells in spring and summer. It is juniper forward (as it should be) and has a unique floral character, along with a pleasing spiciness and a sweet liquorice finish. There are no citrus elements in the gin, which means the slice in your glass really changes the experience – we highly recommend using orange instead of the usual lemon or lime.
So, after several months of struggling to keep up with demand, we are pleased to say that we have got some help and that we are now able to produce a much larger volume in one go, hopefully giving you the chance to buy a bottle of what we believe to be one of the best gins we have ever tried.