<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Spirit of the Lakes - vodka and gin made from Lakeland spring water

PUBLISHED: 09:30 24 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:16 07 June 2017

Standing Stones Vodka and Bedrock Gin at Sticklebarn Nat Trust, Great Langdale

Standing Stones Vodka and Bedrock Gin at Sticklebarn Nat Trust, Great Langdale

Archant

Drinkers across the country and around the world could be set to put their trust in Lakeland vodka and gin, as Sue Riley reports

Standing Stones Vodka and Bedrock Gin at Sticklebarn Nat Trust, Great Langdale....John Davidson and Vince Wilkins with Deborah Robertson, Lakes National Trust Business Development Manager Standing Stones Vodka and Bedrock Gin at Sticklebarn Nat Trust, Great Langdale....John Davidson and Vince Wilkins with Deborah Robertson, Lakes National Trust Business Development Manager

Vodka and gin made from Lakeland spring water could soon be on the menu at National Trust properties across the UK. That’s certainly the hope of Vince Wilkins who has given up a full-time job to run his own company selling bespoke spirits in Cumbria. He already has an exclusive contract providing gin and vodka at Sticklebarn in Great Langdale – the only pub in the country to be run by the National Trust – and is now looking at putting the spirits on the worldwide map.

Fittingly, the idea of creating a gin using spring water and oak bark from the Lake District arose during a chat in a Keswick pub; in 2008 Bedrock Gin was born, followed a few months ago by Standing Stones Vodka. ‘We have worked quite closely with the National Trust and we are looking at other outlets and shops,’ said Vince. ‘We know we have a great product, they do not give national and international awards for nothing.’

Weeks after the vodka was launched it won a national award, which Vince was able to put in the trophy cabinet alongside the Bronze and Silver Outstanding International Wine and Spirit Competition awards for the gin.

Deborah Robertson at the National Trust is excited about the link up too. ‘We were looking at ways to tell our conservation story. We asked around and Bedrock Gin was seen as very Lake District, a company in its infancy but which carried a heritage with it.

‘We were looking at planting juniper in the Langdales. There’s a real issue with domestic juniper, we lose 40 species of insects and wildlife if we lose our juniper. A great way of letting people know how important it is is to find a cyclical story and, in everyday life, most people would know juniper as the basis of gin,’ said Deborah, NW Business Development Manager for the Trust which has planted hundred of junipers in the Langdale and Ullswater areas of Cumbria in recent years.

‘After a day in the hills why not have a gin and tonic! This is certainly a big story in the National Trust and there are plans afoot to sell the products across the country,’ she said.

That’s partly the reason Vince took the bold decision to give up his job this winter – it was also sparked by the death of his wife Helen from breast cancer last summer at the age of 44 and the need to look after his nine-year-old daughter Abbie.

He is now Spirit of the Lakes’ sole director and also its only employee. He set up the business with friend Tim Moor who has since launched Langtons of Skiddaw, another brand of gin using Lakeland water and local oak bark.

‘I have always been a gin fan, I used to drink Tanqueray and I quite liked a bit of Plymouth gin,’ Vince says, although at one time he did consider creating a Lake District whisky.

So Vince started working with a master distiller in the Midlands in his spare time while holding down his full-time job as a regional sales manager for a major alcohol supplier. The result was Bedrock, a London dry gin distilled three times before the juniper, oak bark sourced from a sawmill near Bassenthwaite and other botanicals – 13 altogether including nutmeg, orange peel and liquorice root powder – are added in the fourth distillation.

Vince advises the gin should ideally be drunk with lime and a basil leaf. The spirit is also supplied to Cowmire Hall in the Lyth Valley and used to create its Damson Gin. Vince has worked with the same distiller to create the vodka with its mix of 100 per cent English wheat and spring water. ‘The vodka is a simpler process, it does not have the complexity of ingredients,’ says Vince, 49. ‘But the water we use is unique, it’s quite acidic.’

Last year he and fellow investor John Davidson collected 5,000 litres of the spring water at Ennerdale in West Cumbria, to mix with the gin and vodka concentrates at the bottling plant in Chorley. At the moment it’s still quite a small operation, they produced about 6,000 bottles of gin last year, but one Vince is looking to expand. One new development is the miniatures of both spirits which are proving popular, particularly with Lake District tourists.

Vince also hopes 2014 is the year his products go global as there’s been recent interest from export companies. From his new office in Braithwaite near Keswick, he adds: ‘It’s always been a goal to do this and a combination of circumstances means the time is right. I have massive confidence in the products. The Lake District is an international brand, known around the world. There’s no reason why we should restrict it to Cumbria.’

0 comments

More from Food & Drink

Mon, 13:05

Take a look at some of the finest hampers available in the county.

Read more
Christmas
Monday, November 13, 2017

There is no challenge too small for cake maker Molly Robbins, writes Mairead Mahon

Read more
Sunday, November 12, 2017

It’s the home of the UK’s longest running vegetable box scheme and is showing no signs of slowing down. Mairead Mahon reports

Read more
Lancashire Food
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Beat the Autumn chills with Soup and a Sandwich for just £7 all throughout November.

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Throughout November The Top Lock will be serving up some delicious Vegan dishes for you to try!

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Curry Club at The Top Lock - All throughout November!

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Cheese & Wine Offer at The Butlers Arms, Pleasington - November 2017.

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

After the success of our Curry Week in October we were asked to bring it back...

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

The beautiful woodland John Collinson’s hens explore on Longridge Fell is what makes Bowland Forest Eggs taste so good. Emma Mayoh reports

Read more
Lancashire Food Bowland
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The inaugural Taste Lancashire conference united the county’s food industry

Read more
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Saddleworth actor is relishing a new career as a restaurateur, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Read more
Oldham
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tom Parker and the team at The White Swan are taking flight, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Read more
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

You don’t have to go to Michelin starred venues for a fine dining experience. Foxholes Restaurant at Runshaw College is coming up rosettes, as Mairead Mahon discovered

Read more
Lancashire Restaurants
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Harvey Nichols doesn’t just do fashion darling, it does fab food too, as Janet Reeder discovers

Read more
Manchester Restaurants
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Lancashire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search