Gin has taken over; everyone seems to know about it and new flavours and colours are constantly emerging.
Despite its creation back in the 11th Century, gin is having a revival and the industry is worth a whopping £1.6 billion. Everyone from hipsters to your parents will probably have tried it. These days, there are so many combinations, that it’s hard not to like.
The business effect
At Burnley Social we’ve looked at how this phenomenon is taking off and we have caught up with multi award-winners Batch Gin, who in the space of just three years have gone from distilling gin in the basement of a terraced house in Burnley to winning ‘Best in Class’ at the San Francisco Spirit Awards. Oliver Sanderson, Head Distiller talks us through the company.
How did the company start?
“I had a spare cellar and my uncle talked about making gin. I figure it’d be a good way to fill time. We had over 50 versions at first and it was Batch No.42 that was the winner, that gin is now our signature. This gin was recently relabelled for Burnley FC in The Community to raise funds for their projects.”
“Burnley is such a booming place with companies like Boohoo. It’s a fun and enjoyable place to live and work.”
How did it feel to win the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits competition?
“I was shopping for botanicals and got a call saying we had won a Double Gold and Best Gin medal and it brought a tear to my eye.”
What do you love about the industry?
“When the hustle and bustle of everyday life is out the way, experimentation and playing with flavours are my passion. The thing I love about the craft industry is how everyone is pushing the boundaries including bigger companies. It’s an exciting time for the industry.”
Is the industry collaborative?
“It’s a massively collaborative industry and I’m in touch regularly with other North-West distilleries and everyone is excited to see where things can go. We are working with Moorhouses’s, Northern Whisper and the Reedley Hallows Brewery. It’s fun to be on that bandwagon and to see where things go.”
What projects have you put together recently?
“We recently started something different for the company where we did a monthly subscription service. It was a big undertaking to release a new gin each month along with our normal schedule.”
“We started with Buddha’s Hand in January when a Chinese gentleman contacted us with a list of botanicals and wanted us to develop a gin. It’s amazing when you get into the spirit industry that everyone gets to know everyone.”
What does the future hold?
“We’re working on an export deal, which will be sorted by the end of the month. We’ve got shipments going to the East and Europe.”
The online community
How did you start blogging about ‘the world of gin’?
“I started blogging in 2012 and the first thing I did was set up a gin tasting in Manchester for my friend. He showed me gins I’d never even seen before. I wrote about my experience and found that people were interested in it.”
Why is gin big now when it has been around so long?
“The same boom that happened with beer has happened with gin and now people are literally making it on kitchen tables, in their garden sheds and are selling it to the world. It’s becoming a gateway drink for young people because everyone can drink it. When you drink, you start with the sweet stuff which is introductory, even if you only try it once, you’ll still have tried it.”
“There’s an entirely new generation experiencing the gin trend. I love that it’s opened up so much opportunity and there’s so much of it out there. It’s not a just limited selection, there’s so much choice. There are no bad gins, it’s just a way of finding how to drink them.”
What do all the new craft distillers bring to the mix?
“There’s a science behind it, but it’s also very creative. The master distiller knows the exact way to do something, they know when the process is done properly. They learn the art behind it and you’ve got to have a palette for it and knowing when it’s bang on. Having that skill of being able to get it right each time, now that’s impressive.”
The industry insight
One person who knows gin first-hand is Ryan Prescott, who is the General Manager at Cane and Grain in Manchester’s Northern Quarter where they regularly serve gin on their cocktail menu.
What defines the taste of gin?
“Gin is so versatile that it has a drying effect and freshness you don’t get from other spirits and it’s that which keeps gin unique. There are certain spirits where the purpose of them is to taste the things you put with, so vodka is neutral in flavour, it’s kind of easy to drink.”
How can you tell different gins apart?
“There’s two pillars in the gin world, there’s the perfectly balanced gin and there’s the niche gin which focuses on a single flavour. A perfectly balanced gin has the citrus, the floral nature, the spice and the bitterness. If it’s got all those four, it works brilliantly in my mind. As bar staff and bartenders, it’s up to us to find you the perfect drink. We can only do that when we look further into the ingredients recipes and the history behind them.”
Which gin cocktails would you recommend?
“The martini for me, comes from gin. The martini stood the test of time for so long and it’s one that’s done badly most of the time, but it is a very acquired taste. Then there’s the Tom Collins which has been around since late 1800s is a great alternative to the gin and tonic and its wonderfully refreshing.”
Find out more about Batch Gin Brewery
So there you have it, we’ve heard from the experts, now the ball is in your court. Will you take the plunge and jump on the gin bandwagon?
For more information, you can visit the Batch Gin Brewery website here.
Darryl Pilling | Burnley.Social