Great British Gin

August 14, 2013

Being an avid supporter of British manufacturing, I thought it an appropriate time to introduce you to a number of British manufacturers that I particularly rate. Over the next few months I will interview/sample/and road test a number of British Manufactured products to see what make British manufactured products Great.

My journey begins with a company that I am particularly interested in, not just because it is an independent micro distillery, but because it has recently been formed by a good friend of mine Tarquin Leadbetter, in my favourite part of the country North Cornwall.

Tarquin is the founding director of The Southwestern Distillery. The company is a family run, independent business handcrafting Gin and Pastis in tiny batches, from their small but effective distillery in North Cornwall.

Tarquin’s Gin offers a contemporary take on a classic London Dry; they use fragrant handpicked Devon violets and fresh orange zest to deliver an aromatic sensation unlike any other gins I have tried. Tarquin recommends drinking his gin with four parts tonic, plenty of ice, and a wedge of lime.

What interests me most about Tarquin’s Gin, however, is the story behind it. The amount of time and attention given to each bottle, not only shows in the taste but also reflects the companies passion to make a product that stands out from the usual mass produced factory spirits.

To make their gin and pastis, the team at the Southwestern Distillery gently steep their hand-sorted botanicals in wheat spirit overnight before warming to distilling temperature in the morning. During eight hours or so of careful tendering, monitoring and adjusting, they collect only the heart of the run for bottling, discarding the first and last portions (heads and tails).

Once rested for several days, they nose, taste, hand fill, sign, cork, seal and inspect every bottle to leave their door. The result of the process is a perfect spirit, and each tiny batch has its own completely unique character. After a rigorous assessment, Tarquin handwrites his own tasting notes on every single bottle

One of the reasons I am so passionate about Tarquin’s gin company is that like me he is a young entrepreneur risking it all to live the dream. In my opinion there has never been a better time to start a business: Unemployment is high, rents are favourable and there are growth markets to be tapped into. Like Tarquin I believe that quality at a fair price has never been more important. If you can offer a product which is original, and excels in its class for its quality, there is definitely a hungry market ready to snap it up. Like The Cotswold Tailor, The Southwestern Distillery is benefiting from rapid growth and is stocked in many leading restaurants in the South. This is definitely one to watch for the future!

(if you would like to find out any more about Tarquin’s Gin, you can visit his website at