From Humble Beginnings
Our Unique, Small Batch, Hand Crafted Gin
Our origins story is one of long summer evenings and a journey down memory lane to the end of the garden. More specifically, to Grandad's shed, almost half a century ago. An Aladdin's cave of old car parts, tools and forgotten trinkets, this mysterious shed was at the pinnacle of one small boy's curiosity. Neil had often wondered as to the extent of what lay behind the rust and wriggly tin, hidden away in the orchard. After weeks of pestering, pleading and inquisitive questioning, Grandad Willy finally opened the door to show Neil what was hidden in the depths of this treasure trove. There at the back, in the collection of buckets, jars and steel containers, was a sizable quantity of beer, cider and gin. Grandad Willy had been utilising the bounty of the local countryside, nearby farms and his own orchard for many years to bring these drinks close to perfection.
Forty-five years later, during one long summer of evening Gin and Tonics in the garden as the sun slowly set, Neil’s mind was cast way back to that old wriggly tin shed. He tried to remember the botanicals and ingredients that Grandad Willy had utilised so successfully in what became a quest to recreate the family recipe. With some experimentation, refining and a dash of nostalgia, a rich, smooth flavour began to emerge. Plenty of friends and family were generous enough to taste test and one chance remark planted the seed that this could lead to something more. Several bottles later, Northumberland Spirit Company was born, quite aptly in a garden shed. At its heart: the masterpiece of Alnwick Gin.
The wheels were set in motion in June 2016 and by late October, all the necessary licences and permissions had been granted. A trial batch was successfully produced, sampled and fervently approved by friends and neighbours. The green light was given, and Northumberland Spirit Co. was ready to roll.
Late one Friday evening, the news broke on a personal Facebook page that a new gin was being launched and that the first batch was available for sale. What happened next was incredible. With almost 80 responses that evening, a website and shop were quickly created, resulting in the entire batch of 200 bottles being sold by Monday morning. We could not have hoped for a more successful opening weekend. There was, however, one tiny detail which had been overlooked: batch 001 was yet to be made.
It was all systems go as the need to move from Neil’s shed to larger premises became increasingly apparent. We managed to commandeer a nearby garage which was scrubbed, painted and readied for manufacture. During that first winter, sales took off well beyond expectations, although manufacturing with no heating or running water proved somewhat challenging at times. In the next few months, our premises gradually expanded to include a second garage, a large tent and an even larger shed. It was time to admit that we needed to upsize to a more suitable location. July 2017 saw us move just outside of Alnwick to Rock, where we could enjoy the luxuries of running water, heating, internet, telephones and to top it off: the stunning views of the North East coastline and rolling countryside. It was a big step up from our humble beginnings but has allowed us to take The Northumberland Spirit Co. to the next level.
In March 2018 we became the proud winners of a Silver Medal at the first London Spirit Competition. This is a fantastic seal of approval from the global spirits industry. In order to receive this distinction, we needed to excel in three different categories: Value, Presentation, and of course, Quality. The London Spirits Competition aims to reward and celebrate the spirits that spirit drinkers wanted to buy. Naturally, we are all pretty chuffed about this.
As of July 2019, we were pleased to welcome a new still to our family. It is thanks to the generous support of the Northumberland Coast and Lowlands LEADER Programme that the Northumberland Spirit Co. has been able to purchase and install the new gin still and ancillary equipment. It is now fully operational and producing some of the finest gin on the market.
We are not the sort of company to stay within our comfort zone, so we are always busy experimenting to develop and refine new flavours and creations. We only release a new product onto the market when we are certain it is the highest quality it can be. There is always something to look forward to so make sure to keep an eye out for our newest products.
The European Agricultural Fund For Rural Development: Europe Investing In Rural Areas.