Sipsmith Distillery - Behind the Scenes
Back in 2013, as The Gin Guide was being established, we visited Sipsmith's original distillery in Hammersmith. It was a small workshop unit on an otherwise residential road and you could very easily stroll past without knowing it existed. While Sipsmith's popularity and reach has soared in the intervening years, there's something pleasingly similar about Sipsmith's current home in Chiswick. Having moved from Hammersmith in 2014, the new distillery is also on a largely residential road and can be just as easily missed, tucked away in a still relatively modest space behind a mechanic's garage.
Sipsmith Distillery was establish in 2009 by Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall, who joined forces with Master Distiller Jared Brown. Sipsmith has become acclaimed for the role they played in challenging the laws that prior to 2008 prevented new distilleries opening with less than 1,800 litres capacity. Alongside other aspiring gin producers and a crucial individual at HM Customs and Excise, the laws were changed and Sipsmith received their license, which proudly hangs on the wall in the distillery. When the distillery opened in 2009, it became the first of its kind to open since 1820.
Sipsmith Distillery is home to 3 copper pot stills and a column. 'Prudence', a Christian Carl still from Germany, was the first copper pot still to be launched in London for almost 200 years. 4 years later she was joined by 'Patience' and then also 'Constance', with the latter being solely used to produce Sipsmith's original London Dry.
As well as sampling Sipsmith's core range of gins, on their distillery tours you'll typically get the chance to sample one of their latest creations, as well as seeing their wonderful collection of previous small batches and experimental spirits.
The Sipsmith Distillery is a beautifully presented gin haven, while still being a modest and functional home for the globally successful brand. Just like everyone we've met in the Sipsmith team over the years, the distillery is charming and interesting, and it's a pleasure to hear the wealth of stories and insights on their tours. And let's not forget the gin! From their classic London Dry and their navy strength VJOP Gin to their latest release, Orange & Cacao Gin, the tastings are just as much of a delight.
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