What did you do before establishing Dog & Spoon Distillery?
We (Seb and Tony) have been friends for many years and initially met whilst working on an IT project based in Switzerland. Seb has a career in IT and after his data migration start-up was acquired, now works in IT Leadership. With a young child, Seb doesn’t have much free time, but when he does he loves the mountains and snowboarding, all sorts of food, motorcycle racing and is a Lego Master in training.
Tony has spent many years as a Software Engineer and is a tech geek at heart. He also owns a hotel for dogs with his wife, a little hint to where our name comes from. Whilst not working he’s a part-time dog wrestler (has never won) and snowboarder.
What inspired you to create your distillery and gins?
We’ve both had a love for Gin for many years and loved the variety. Coming from a technical background we were fascinated with the science and how if we had a distillery it would be a mixture of hi-tech and hand crafted. Add into the mix Tony owns a farm that had some space available in one of the barns, we put two and two together and we sort of just jumped straight in. The inspiration for our first spirits had to be the gold standard of gins, a London Dry. Something with a citrus crispness, smooth and would be glorious in a refreshing G&T.
Can you tell us more about the distillery and still?
The distillery is based in the heart of Derbyshire, on an old farm that Tony owns, it is situated largely on the first floor (that is another story!) of a converted barn. The Still we use is a very modern and precise model, specifically chosen because of its energy usage and efficiency. Its capacity is 100L, so as you can see, we are truly small batch and hand crafted. We experiment, distil, bottle, label and package all our products on-site. All our packaging is custom made, plastic free and produced locally.
One of the goals of the business was to ensure we were as sustainable as possible. When we are not using power from our solar panels, we rely on a 100% green energy provider. The buildings heating is controlled through a bio-mass boiler (when needed), we created a custom closed-loop water cooling system (saving on 1,000s of litres of water) and we planted a forest in a back field.
Can you tell us more about your distillation process and botanicals?
The majority of our Gin is London Dry, our 'Science Project' brand has three Gins, 6a @ 40% ABV, 6a+ (Miners strength) @ 60% ABV and 6a Bergamot @ 40% ABV. 6a and 6a+ both have 11 botanicals including cassia, bay-leaf and cardamom and the Bergamot has 10 botanicals.
After carefully selecting the botanicals, they are suspended in a muslin bag inside the Still. Our process uses the classic approach for a typical London Dry Gin but as we are using a precision Still it allows us to be extremely accurate in our cutting process, allowing for an incredibly smooth finish.
As a side project, we’re also attempting to grow some of our own botanicals, e.g. Juniper berries (still a few years out), lemons (surprisingly growing well) and bay-leaf.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
Our biggest challenge was that a few weeks after starting, Covid hit. This seriously impacted our ability to get hold of parts and ingredients. Whilst the distillery wasn’t fully active, we did use this time to refine our first recipe on a small scale.
It’s hard to choose a single achievement but two things stand-out. After a lot of hard work our products were recently certified Carbon Neutral which massively validates our early goals of being sustainable. Our 6a+ Gin was also a Winner in The Gin Guide Awards 2022 and was the highest scoring English Gin in the High ABV category.
How would you describe your 6a Gin in 3 words?
Refreshing, smooth, sustainable.
What's your favourite way to drink your gins?
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
What's next for you and Dog & Spoon - any exciting plans?
We have some great ideas for creating some spirits based on local botanicals, along with dabbling in the quirky side of Gin, something fun with some diverse collaborators.
You Might Also Like...