What’s New at The Market Buildings
Our still is now installed. Many weeks have been spent connecting utilities to it, including water, electricity and drainage, and we have taken great care to ensure that all pipework in and around the still looks as beautiful as she does. Our lights have been installed throughout and it was a great day to switch these on for the first time, including a couple of funky spotlights to add accent colours to certain areas. We’ve also added two customer toilets and an experience room, that we are very proud of. In the coming weeks we plan to install a simple bar and shop front as well as seating.
George Bishop London Dry Gin
At our Behind the Scenes events, many Founding Members visited us and gave us their feedback on our first gin: George Bishop.
We held recipe testing in a number of different ways, mixing things up to make sure we got results that gave us a clear winning recipe.
Some Members will have tasted a few varieties of the recipe using a different blend of botanicals each time, to see which flavour profiles were most popular. Other members were given the same recipe to taste but at different strengths, again to test how our chosen mix of 15 exotic botanicals was received at different ABVs. After some industry testing too, we arrived at a clear winner, a clear chosen recipe and at its most popular strength. With our still complete we are now very close to distilling our first run of the recipe, which will mark a significant moment as the first spirit to be distilled at the new Maidstone Distillery. This special batch will form part of a limited edition “1st batch” release available to reserve soon on our website and also included as part of the Founding Member offer.
We are so delighted that our bottle design and labels have been tested and finalised and we are thrilled with their final look. We must give thanks to our design team at Zest the Agency, who have created something very unique and eye catching, bold and brilliant enough for our flagship product and our homage to George Bishop. We will take delivery of these bottles in the coming weeks.
Our Experience Room
The last three months have seen us setting up a Distillery but also setting up our Experience Room. We have had three beautiful, bespoke mahogany benches made, one of which we have set at a height to enable wheelchair users to join our sessions. In this room we will hold events such as making your own gin in a guided session on your own mini copper still, as well as blending experiences and tours. The room is a real talking point as it takes in the best view of the still.
When will we open?
This is, quite understandably, the most common question we are asked at the moment! We are rapidly approaching the day when we can give an exact date, but expect it to be late April / early May. We thank you for your patience and encouragement on this journey so far, it has taken a great deal of will and technical expertise to realise our dream.
Our ambition has turned out to be quite a grand one. Our vision has always been to install a Distillery that looks great, is in a fantastic location and creates delicious spirits. There was no rule book for what has been achieved and a Distillery in a town centre is certainly more unusual, but we hope will encourage more visitors to experience a working Distillery, and the excitement of getting close to the action. Since late last year all of our theoretical plans have been put into reality and areas such as water pressure, racking and storage systems, ventilation, pumps, setting up the still etc. has all taken centre stage. It has taken longer than we thought and the team around us have been working so hard. We have also acquired our all important Distillers License and Warehouse License from the HMRC as well as our local authority permissions. We are on the Starting Blocks!
Our plans now are to start distilling in the coming weeks and then our first spirit will need to be conditioned and polished for a few weeks to reach crafted perfection. In the mean time we will be installing a simple bar and seating and preparing for our opening. We will also be continuing product development of our Ranscombe Wild gin and an exciting Liqueur! We are so looking forward to opening our doors. We feel we are on the final furlong now, it’s almost here.
Founding Member Promotion
Our Founding Members club will close to new Members at the end of March. We have enjoyed so much support for our new venture, and none more so than from our Founding Members. In April Sharon of Baden Art will put the final touches to the large bespoke piece of copper art than will hold all our Founding member names and we can’t wait to unveil this special piece. Its not too late to join, offer closes 31st March 2020.