What did you do before creating the distillery and gins?
Before I started this adventure of a lifetime, I was doing some consultancy work with the awesome Avalon Distillery, who produce Viper Gin from Dorset and for The Dartmoor, England’s soon to be largest commercial Whisky Distillery. This ambitious project is being built high up the moor at Princetown. With both roles, I got my first taste for what is required to set up a distillery and build a brand. It definitely gave me the confidence and appetite to look for an opportunity to do it for myself.
What made you decide to create your gins and what is the inspiration behind them?
The opportunities above really made me think that I would like to do this for myself and create my own distillery and brand. I was searching the online job sites and I came across South Ormsby Estate. South Ormsby Estate is a 3000 acre estate in the Lincolnshire Wolds and they were searching for someone to come and join the estate, build a distillery and create a gin brand that fits in with their near 400 year history. From this history I choose two key characters and brought them back to life in the form of gin, their personalities reflected in the style and finish of each.
Can you tell us more about the distillery and distillation process?
Our distillery is very small and compact, but it is full of all that is needed to produce our fine range of Gins. The distillery is situated in the garden of my house, which means my commute to work each morning takes approximately 35 steps. Also in the garden are several elder bushes and 3 apple trees, which are key botanicals for our Burrell’s Dry Gin.
Inside the distillery we have two stills. Isolde is our 10L pot test still, she was responsible for creating all our early test batches and will in the future assist in any new products that we may create. Then we have Angelica. She is our 120L copper pot still, with vapour infusion basket and a 6-plate rectification column as well.
Can you tell us more about the botanicals you use?
When we produce Burrell’s, a traditional London style gin but with a contemporary fruity twist using 14 botanicals, the botanicals are put inside Angelica and 6 of those are also put into the vapour basket. These include Juniper, lemon, lime, tangerine, apple, and elderflower. Other botanicals include cubeb, orris, angelica and bay.
Marie Jeanne’s Pink Gin is made with a completely different recipe. We only use 12 botanicals to produce her flavour profile, which is sassy and elegant - full of fresh red berries with a hint of clean fresh lime. On this distillation we do not use the vapour basket, instead bypassing straight to the condenser. Key botanicals include juniper, cassia, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, lime, and pink peppercorns.
Is the distillery open to the public?
We are currently not open to the public, however if people are in the area and would like to come and visit us, all they have to do is contact me and I’m more than happy to book them in for a visit. Whilst with us, I would talk them through the estate history, how we tie into that and of course we would try our gins and any from my gin shelf that takes their fancy.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far
With out doubt the biggest challenge has been launching a few weeks after lockdown in April 2020. The business plan that I had spent 6 months on was torn up overnight and we had to start again with a new, COVID-19 friendly plan. This still is our biggest obstacle. Exposing our brand to the consumers and giving them the confidence to spend their money on our unknown gin.
However, this also has been fun too. Learning new skills and adapting to a different strategy. For me the standout moments was when the first customers and influencers started giving me feedback on our gins. The positivity towards what we have achieved has blown me away and it is very humbling knowing that people love our gins.
How would you describe your gins in 3 words?
What's your favourite way to drink your gins?
For me, Burrell’s is best served over ice with a light tonic, tangerine peel & black peppercorns. Marie Jeanne’s is best served over ice with either a light tonic or a lemonade with lots of raspberries, lime, and fresh mint.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf?
The staple gins on my gin shelf have to be Uganda Waragi Pineapple Gin, Viper Gin from my friends at Avalon Distillery in Dorset and lastly Garden Tiger, or as its now known Garden Swift - a beautifully complex gin from the guys at Capreolus Distillery.
What's next for Massingberd-Mundy Distillery - any exciting plans?
It is vitally important that our focus remains on making Burrell’s & Marie Jeanne’s a success in the market before we release anything else, but I have my ginspiration shelf which is full of ideas. From the whacky and crazy Reaper Gin to using the fruits of the estate to create a gooseberry gin, sloe gin or a cherry gin. As a distillery, my creative juices are flowing.
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