I had always known that Maidstone had a rich history of brewing. Most local residents over the age of 35 would recall with nostalgia the Fremlins Brewery and the trademark “Elephant Brew”. It was something along with the Trebor factory and the paper mills that the town was proud of in terms of its modern history of manufacturing. But other than this and the knowledge that Maidstone had a collection of Medieval buildings and straddled the tidal river Medway, little history echoed to me from the past.
And then whilst trawling the internet for inspiration for our distillery plans I stubbled upon an article written in the 1950’s and documenting a long since forgotten industry of the town of Maidstone. We were famous for producing Gin, no I mean it, in fact we were more than famous…we were preeminent! Maidstone had made a huge contribution to the story of our national spirit during the later 18th and early 19th Centuries.
The 18th century was an influential time, the government has passed laws to curb the Gin Craze that was the ruin of society, the gin of the day was a poor comparison to the quality we enjoy today, but for George Bishop, a native of Maidstone he saw this as a unique opportunity to build a Distillery at Maidstone and create an industry that would thrive for the best part of 150 years! There was a great story here, and a legacy that the town should be justly proud of.