Drive in UK craft gin distilleries

05 June, 2014

The UK has more craft gin distilleries per head of population than the US, distiller Mark Gamble told an audience at the Gin Guild Ginposium on Tuesday (June 3).

At 30:20 per 65 million people, the UK has a fifth of the population compared to the US.

After the UK gin distillery openings flat lined at one per year in the three years from 2009, eight are now open and 15 more are projected in 2014.

Despite this growth, Gamble said: “Americans are some 20 years ahead of us at the moment.”

Micro-brewing started in the UK in 1970 and spread to the US, 12 years later the micro distilling movement was born in America and the first UK craft gin distillery based on the American craft model opened almost three decades later in 2008.

Union Distillers’ managing director Mark Gamble started up a distillery in his house and launched Two Birds Countryside Spirits on World Gin Day last year.

Since then, Two Birds London Dry Din has won gold in the 2013 Craft Distillers Awards and silver in the IWSC.

The self-professed gin fanatic advises others attempting to replicate his success to keep micro-distilling small to start with, and to understand the importance of branding.

He said: “The Craft Gin Distiller profile is: entrepreneurial, innovative and passionate about gin, your gin. You need to take calculated risk and have self belief,” Gamble added.

Gamble built his distillery in a 4m x 2.7m room, and hired his son and daughter to design the branding and coordinate the PR.

Two Birds Speciality Cocktail Gin, said to be the first gin specifically distilled for cocktails, won double gold at the 2014 San Francesco World Spirits Competition.

Union Distillers’ new 3000 sq. ft. purpose built distillery opens in Market Harborough this month.

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