What did you do before establishing Hebden Bridge Gin?
I worked in IT from leaving school at 18 and had spent the last 19 years as a Project Manager for IBM.
What made you decide to create your gin?
It goes without saying that I love gin but the thought of actually making my own came about in my last week at work when someone asked what I was going to do next... I didn't have a clue, but I love gin so I actually said 'I'm going to make 'Slack Bottom Gin' (this is where I live so not as odd as it sounds!!). When I put the phone down I thought 'Why not..?' and 15 weeks later my first 2 gins hit the shelves!
What is the inspiration behind your gins and branding?
My gins are inspired by a pride in where I'm from and a desire to know the provenance of what we eat and drink wherever possible. I used a local artist to create the label wanting to show our industrial past, a love of nature and Hebden Bridge's artistic side. The gins are 100% natural, I don't use any flavourings, the fruits are fresh, the water is Yorkshire Spring water, and I don't compromise on quality. All my packaging is recyclable and where possible recycled.
Can you tell us more about the distillery and still?
I use a Distillery near Beverley with traditional copper pot stills. Really it was finding out that I could contract out my distillation that made my idea start to take shape.
Can you tell us more about the distillation process and botanicals?
We use the traditional London Dry method for all the gins. We macerate for 48 hours before distillation. I always have an idea of what is coming next so I decide on the botanicals and do a first run but then we will produce several versions in the Distillery and I have a small product test group to try them out on... although oddly the more gin I give them the less helpful they become!! The highest number of botanicals I have in 1 gin is 8, so compared to some I am quite restrained - I love how different people's palates pick out different flavours.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
How would you describe your gin in 3 words?
Flavoursome, Natural, Smooth
What's your favourite way to drink your gins?
In the sunshine! I've developed all my gins to be drunk with a regular Indian Tonic (although it is nice to experiment sometimes), but in the case of our Lime & Rosemary Gin, this was created so that it could be drunk in a Gin Margarita... so in that case with Cointreau, Lime and Salt!
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
Brockmans Gin is an old favourite, or Isle of Raasay Gin.
What's next for you and Hebden Bridge Gin - any exciting plans?
We have lots of events planned for the run up to Christmas and then in the quiet months of January and February I'll be developing the next flavour profile... not 100% sure what yet but it will have a yellow/orange label!
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