Dr Anne Brock Bombay Sapphire

Dr Anne Brock: Bombay's new boss

06 February, 2019

Forward thinking and decisive, Dr Anne Brock is the latest recruit to the gin industry’s family of master distillers. Shay Waterworth meets the woman with Bombay Sapphire in her charge

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DR ANNE BROCK MAY BE A fresh face in master distiller circles, having only been in charge of Bombay Sapphire for just over a year, but her credentials certainly stack up alongside many a veteran of the industry. A PhD in organic chemistry at Oxford University and essentially setting up Bermondsey Distillery with her own two hands show she means business.

“With distilling you can read all the books in the world, but it’s when you stand in front of a still and have to make decisions that you really learn,” she says.

“When I started at Bermondsey Distillery I definitely wasn’t looking for that level of job, I wanted to work with someone I could learn from.

“Being given the opportunity to build a distillery from scratch and make every mistake imaginable was really amazing for me and during my four years there we were able to bring production in-house.

“But I remember walking into my new office at Bombay for the first time and seeing my name on the door – that’s when it suddenly all felt real.”

DR DECISIVE

Brock established herself within the gin industry during her time at Bermondsey Distillery and it was here that she got involved with the Gin Guild, where she’s now a director. But something which allows to sit at the top of one of the world’s most famous gin brands is her ability to make decisions.

When she was 18 she followed her dream of becoming a doctor by studying medicine at university, but it wasn’t what she expected.

“I’d always dreamed of being a doctor when I was a kid but I decided I hated it so I dropped out, much to the despair of my parents.”

It was a decisive move which led her to working in the hospitality industry as live-in staff in hotels and, after a while away from education, her mind was refocused.

Brock returned to university and this time she stayed. She went on to gain her PhD but, more importantly as it turned out, she used her hospitality experience to manage the common room bar in her Oxford college.

“My dad grew up in Worcestershire and used to pick apples in cider orchards, so at the weekends at university he’d pick me up and we’d go to the orchards and I’d come back with jerry cans of cider, which was great.

“After university I knew I wanted a job with a practical basis and I wanted to know that when I left in the evening I’d achieved something.

“When I started learning about the industry, Sipsmith and Chase Distillery had just started to shout about gin, so it was all very exciting.”

FINDING HER FEET

Having written to a number of gin producers in London, Brock was taken on by Bermondsey Distillery – and gin wasn’t the only thing she learnt about during her time in London.





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Dominic Roskrow

Chalk it up to experience

Don’t know about you, but I can’t help feeling that the year has not started well.

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