What did you do before creating Bullards Gin?
When I was a young lad I worked for the Norwich Brewery and actually worked on the Bullards brand which was originally established in 1837. I then went on to set up a marketing agency which I sold and I thought I would retire, but the opportunity arose to acquire the old Bullards brand and I simply couldn't resist!
What made you decide to create the distillery, and what's the inspiration behind your gins?
The Bullards name is synonymous with the brewing history of Norwich and after reviving the brand I decided to focus on the handcrafted production of gin and creating Norwich's first distillery in over 150 years. We wanted to make each gin unique and were the first to use Tonka Beans in the distillation process and they are in our London Dry. Our Strawberry and Black Pepper Gin is entirely natural, with no artificial colours or additives, in fact - there is a punnet of strawberries in each bottle! Then there is our Old Tom Gin which is distilled with Mango and Norfolk Honey.
Can you tell us more about the Bullards Distillery?
Our purpose built distillery in the city centre houses a 600L copper still in the iconic beautiful glass fronted Crystal House building on Cattle Market St which was built in 1862. We infuse neutral grain spirit with our secret blend of botanicals.
What can visitors expect from your distillery tours?
People can expect to be taken on a journey - our tours and tastings are truly experiential and include insight into the history of gin, the Bullards brand story, a tour of the distillery and the best bit of course is the gin tasting master class!
What have been the biggest achievements and challenges so far?
We originally started distilling in the back of a pub in Norwich and to meet the ever increasing demand we installed our second still at Crystal House. I think my high point is winning World's Best London Dry Gin at the World Gin Awards in 2017 and my biggest challenge has probably been adapting my business skill set to fit the requirements of an artisan beverage producer.
How would you describe Bullards Gin in 3 words?
smooth, innovative, heritage
What is your favourite serving of one of your gins?
For me personally, its the old tom gin neat on the rocks
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than Bullards of course!)?
Currently, I am huge fan of Harris Gin and a distilled Negroni that the distillers made the other week. I also love Genever which I drink when I visit Holland.
What's next for Bullards Gin - any exciting plans?
We will be opening our tasting room at the distillery and then a restaurant and bar upstairs at Crystal House in early 2020. There will be some experimental gins to look out for too.