What did you do before creating The Shropshire Distillery and your gins?
Gareth, is a former chemical engineer, motorbike racer and is currently consults as test rider. My history is in Educational, Local Authority and latterly the NHS.
What made you decide to create your distillery and gins?
We both have a love of gin - we were purchasing many different bottles and found that some were contract distilled and not created where they said when purchased, so we decided to make our own. We wanted to have our own business to fit in with family life and to move away from the mundane 9-5 working life. We have creative personalities and wanted to be able to create new and interesting products on our terms and with our ideas.
What's the distillery like?
We initially started our distillery journey back in 2018 in our ‘Gin Shed’ –at the bottom of our garden. We both still worked full time and wanted to ensure our new business venture was viable. In 2020 we started a new journey of self building our new purpose built distillery which we moved into in August 2020. The move has allowed us to upscale our production and open our distillery to the public for Tours and Gin School Experience.
Can you tell us more about the distillation process?
Jean and Anne are the two hard working Copper Pot stills creating our gins using a ‘one shot’ method, meaning everything goes into the copper pot and what comes out is what we bottle. We have our own Reverse Osmosis system on site and use this to purify our water, which is then used to reduce the %ABV of our distilled gins to bottling strength. We’re hands-on at every stage, skilfully blending botanicals to carefully and slowly distill ensuring an honest spirit of the finest quality.
We also have Hermione, a Vacuum Still, Eileen our mini copper development Still along with 8 Individual work station on our Gin School – each equipped with their very own mini still. We’ve limited our Gin School experience to 8 workstations to ensure everyone gets the time and attention they require without feeling overwhelmed or overcrowded.
Can you tell us more about the botanicals you use?
We use sustainably and ethically sourced botanicals from here in the UK and across the world. Our family team hand picks the finest botanicals, distils, blends, bottles and labels by hand in Shropshire.
We use our core blend of botanicals; Juniper, English Coriander, Oris and Angelica root . Each our gins has their own individual recipe – ensuring each is unique and of its own blend.
What can people expect and experience if they visit the distillery?
A big warm welcome from our family to yours, with a G&T of course! You can expect rustic, wooden and industrial vibes with a family feel. You will meet us the makers, have an insight into us, our story and our love of all things gin, as well as a tour of the distillery and seeing where the magic happens. You can even make your own magic in your very own still! There'll be more G&Ts throughout your experience and the opportunity to sample any of our limited edition/small run gins we are producing.
What have been the biggest achievements so far?
There are a few to be honest – all of which we are very proud of… Releasing our first Gin in July 2018 and being awarded two IWSC awards in July 2019., following in 2021 with 4 x LSC awards and being recognised by The Gin Guide as ‘Highly Commended’. The self-building our purpose-built distillery and opening to the public – which we have also won ‘Distillery of the Year’ with the Prestige awards
We also underwent a whole rebrand of our gins. We have always been ‘The Shropshire Distillery’ but our Gins were known as 'Shire Gin' – following consumer and trade feedback we made the decision to rebrand in 2021 with the focus on ’The Shropshire Distillery’ – to showcase classic and honest spirits with provenance – we even have a cut out in out front label where you look through the ‘Spirit of Shropshire’ to the botanicals used in the gin – all designed and drawn by local businesses and individuals.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
We love a craft gin rather than mast produced so are always on the look out on our travels for locally produced craft gins - an example being Merywen based just down the road from us in Wales or Forest Gin whom we can relate to in their early days who started distilling at home and who are also a husband and wife team!
What's next for The Shropshire Distillery - any exciting plans?
As part of our rebrand we released our new liqueurs range; AFTER NOON so we’re looking to extend the range along with gins and other spirits. We are looking to extend our experiences at the distillery and continuing our 5 star rated tours and school.
We release Limited Edition gins throughout the year; Apple and Honey in Spring and our 2 Christmas Gins – Frankincense & Myrrh and Cranberry & Clementine – both of which are only around for a short period of time each year. And we have developed and released a collaboration Gin with FEI World No. 1 Event Rider, Oliver Townend MBE and are looking forward to showcasing this across the country.
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