In December 2020, Andrew and Rachel moved their distillery to a Grade II listed building at Bicester Heritage and upgraded their production capability four-fold. The location itself is steeped in history and is a campus dedicated to historic and specialist motoring, formerly RAF Bicester, the UK's best-preserved WW2 RAF bomber station. With the distillery situated amongst historic vehicle restoration businesses and a test track on the former airfield, the site has a wonderful feel and buzz, and you are certain to see some rare and classic vehicles during your visit. Andrew and Rachel have so many amazing stories to share and be sure to ask them about the ghost on the airfield!
Prior to launching Sky Wave Distillery, Rachel was a BBC journalist and TV news anchor and Andrew was an Army Officer in the Royal Signals. As life-long gin fans they were always searching for the perfect gin and attended a Gin School purely out of interest. However, they created a recipe that impressed the Master Distiller and other students so much that within a day they had bought a still from Portugal and begun researching licensing requirements. Within 6 months they had honed their recipe and launched their first gin - Sky Wave London Dry Gin.
Their original Portuguese copper pot still is proudly displayed in the window of the distillery and continues to be used for testing and product development, whilst now being dwarfed by their gleaming 200L still alongside it. The walls of the distillery are adorned with fascinating photos that tell the story of the gin, the location and what inspired Andrew and Rachel. Andrew explained, "The inspiration behind our gins is the combination of the adventures we have had in our former careers and the spirit of Oxfordshire where we are based; some of the botanicals are sourced from the faraway places we have adventured, whilst others are foraged locally to us in our beloved Oxfordshire."
Andrew also talked us through their distillation process that achieved their success in The Gin Guide Awards 2021 and is behind the popularity of their gin range:
"For our London Dry gins, we adhere strictly to the one-shot process. Absolutely nothing is added after distillation except the Blenheim Palace Natural Mineral Water that we use to cut the gin. It truly is at the pinnacle of the craft because we have just one chance to get every batch right – there can be no tweaking or blending afterwards. What comes off our still goes directly into your bottle, and we’re very proud of this."
You can visit the distillery for Sky Wave Gin Experiences (which we highly recommend), beginning of course with a welcoming Sky Wave Gin & Tonic on arrival. You’ll meet Andy and/or Rachel, hear the Sky Wave Gin story, be able to ask them questions, and be introduced to the two stills, Tessie and Basca. You'll also learn about the distillation process and see the stills in operation if they're distilling that day. You'll be guided through the whole production process, ending with a unique tutored tasting to experience and discover all of the Sky Wave Gin range, before a relaxing G&T at the bar and the chance to take some Sky Wave Gin home with you.
Book a Sky Wave Gin Experience online at www.skywavegin.com