What did you do before creating your distillery and gin?
I was a commercial sub-sea diver and project manager in the oil and gas industry.
What made you decide to create your distillery and gin?
Over the years I’ve tried my hand at many creative things, from woodwork to fashion, and nothing really caught my attention for long enough. I’ve always enjoyed drinking gin, and it’s impossible not to have noticed the explosion of gin recently. Since the beginning we’ve looked to consult with the best people to create the best possible spirits from our small craft distillery.
Can you tell us about the distillery, distillation process and botanicals?
We’re quite small, based on a farm just outside of Melton Mowbray. As we also live on the farm it means it’s very much a personal operation and one that we had to get right. My engineering background helped with designing our bespoke 400L pot still named Ayanda, which I built myself too.
I ensured I worked with an amazing master distiller to help me learn how to use the still, and it helped that I knew every inch of her, and we hand chose all of the botanicals inspired by the local area, and my South African heritage. We are a London Dry gin, so we add all of our botanicals to the still with the spirit, before doing a single shot distillation. After distillation we then cut the spirit down to bottling strength.
What can people expect and experience if they visit the distillery for a tour/tasting?
We’re based in a very small village, just outside of Melton Mowbray, called Brentingby. It’s therefore very much in the middle of the countryside! You’ll be visiting our farm, where we live, so you’ll get to see our many, many animals including chickens and some pretty noisy geese that like you to know that they’re there. We also have a number of dogs and cats, though they’re usually in the house.
We can offer tours and tastings, though the group size is limited to around 4-6 due to space constraints. It’s great to be able to show people on a journey through the process, from distillation to bottling, and then there’s always the opportunity to taste the gins, plus anything we’re developing at the time if you’re lucky. In the near future, we’re looking forward to offering a half day experience which will showcase the local area and will involve clay pigeon shooting, a distillery tour and tastings.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
Starting a distillery was never going to be easy, from the regulations and paperwork through to the actual recipe development. However, we’ve been lucky to work with some great people who’ve been able to help us create the high quality gin that we set out to make, and which makes the more day-to-day paperwork and forms a little easier!
The biggest problem if I’m honest is competing in the saturated gin market. With gins being launched every day it’s difficult to stand out, especially when the larger brands are able to pay to be listed in a venue etc. We’re proud of our gin, and know that we have a great product, it’s just that initial foot-through-the-door that can be a little tricky.
That being said, we have received wonderful feedback and have made good progress in the industry, despite being only five months old (at the time of writing). We believe in the liquid and the people we work with. We have a wonderful back story and continued journey and can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
How would you describe your Brentingby Gin in 3 words?
Versatile, refreshing and Ginny (i.e juniper dominant)
What's your favourite way to drink Brentingby Gin?
I enjoy my gin neat with an ice block, or in a G&T with a wedge of grapefruit and sprig of rosemary. Recently I tried my first martini which was an amazing experience, helping our gin to really come alive. It was made dry with a twist of grapefruit peel and I was blown away with the crispness of it.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
I’m a bit of a traditionalist and prefer the London Dry classic style of juniper plus citrus to be honest. My go to gin has always been Tanqueray No. 10 Gin.
What's next for Brentingby Gin - any exciting plans?
We have a new gin launching in April!