6 of the best gins made in the North West
PUBLISHED: 18:58 09 June 2017 | UPDATED: 18:33 13 June 2017
www.tone-photographer.com Peter Sheppard
Our guide to some of the top gin distillers in Lancashire and the Lake District
Batch Brew, Burnley
Batch Brew is the baby of IT expert Phil Whitwell, who grew up in nearby Ramsbottom. Work commitments mean he is based in Winchester but interest from family members back home meant he decided to base the distillery in Lancashire. His nephew Oliver Sanderson and head distiller Emma Coughlan started off producing between 300 and 400 bottles a month in Burnley and that has now rocketed, presenting quite a challenge to his distribution team – his sister, Sarah and her husband, Terry.
This family-run distillery lovingly crafts their spirits in small batches of no more than 25 litres at a time, ensuring a premium handmade spirit of high quality. From gin with frankincense and myrrh to Burmese betel nut vodka, take a sip of something very delicious produced close to home.
G & J Distillers, Warrington
Thomas Dakin, the forefather of quality English gin, purchased a property in Bridge Street, Warrington. He began distilling his original gin in 1761, at the age of 25, and founded what would become the oldest gin distillery in England. The brew was Greenall’s Gin.
Today G & J Distillers has a large empire with an award-winning portfolio of world class brands including Greenall’s and Thomas Dakin Gin, which is handcrafted in small batches using the finest botanicals.
Lakes Distillery, Setmurthy
From a Victorian cattle farm to a world-class production facility of quality spirits, this was a labour of love for Lakes Distillery founder Paul Currie. Juniper that grows wild on the Lakeland fells is blended with 13 other botanicals to make The Lakes Gin including bilberry, heather and meadowsweet. Whisky and vodka is also made at the distillery.
You can also get a behind the scenes view into the stillroom and warehouse as well as tastings of different spirits and learn about the tasting wheel at tours held at the business, near Bassenthwaite Lake.
Bedrock Gin, Keswick
Vince Wilkins gave up his full-time job to run his own company selling bespoke spirits in Cumbria in 2008. Working with a master distiller he has put together a unique blend of botanicals distilled with Cumbrian kiln-dried oak bark and spring water.
Since then Bedrock Gin, produced by Vince’s business Spirit of the Lakes, has been awarded many accolades in national and international competitions, including being named the World’s Best Gin in 2016 from the International Wine and Spirit Competition.
While many impoverished students are forced by necessity to brew their own alcoholic concoctions, few go on to turn them into a career. Aaron Darke the man behind The Manchester Gin is an exception. The creator of the Zymurgorium drinks brand was at university studying microbiology and zoology brewing drinks for his friends and wondering what to do for a career.
He fell in love with distilling and decided he wanted to turn it into a career. He started the business in his mother’s shed in Northern Moor, Wythenshawe.Now, based in Irlam, Aaron uses foraged ingredients such as damsons, sloes, elderflower and woodruff. As well as Manchester Gin and Manchester Gin liqueurs, the brand also embraces everything from craft beers and cider to mead. They sell special edition brews like honey cider, marmalade mead, gin liqueur and toffee vodka.
Manchester Three Rivers Gin, Manchester
This small batch dry gin is produced by master distiller Dave Rigby using a custom made copper pot still, Angel. Having spent a lifetime in the city learning, absorbing, being inspired by everything from the architecture to the museums, nightclubs, restaurants, bars and most importantly people; Dave made the decision to create a drink that was as well rounded and distinct as the city.
But he also wanted to create a space where people could come and share in his passion for processes, industry and a good cocktail. He created the city centre’s first distillery but also a Gin Experience where you can enjoy a tour, learn about the history of the drink and create your own bottle of gin to take home.