Guided tours of new Suffolk gin distillery get go-ahead
PUBLISHED: 19:00 05 September 2020
People will be able to see and learn how gin is made during guided tours of a new distillery on the Suffolk coast.
Planners have given the go-ahead for the tours after a series of assurances about how they will be run and that they will not disturb nearby residents.
Fishers Gin is moving its gin production from Adnams to Beach Lodge, near the Brudenell Hotel, on Aldeburgh seafront, and says it will be a “significant investment” and a tourist boost for the town.
The company – founded by Andrew Heald, whose family have lived in the town for generations – told East Suffolk Council that the hour-long tours were important to the project and are designed to allow customers to see and learn about how gin is made, taste the product and understand the brand.
Mr Heald said: “We have limited our tours to three per day as a maximum, with an average of one per day. The tours are small – a maximum of 14 people – and do not involve large tourist type buses.. All tours will be booked online or by telephone.”
There will be no walk-in guests.
During consultation on the proposals, some people suggested the distillery would develop into a ‘gin bar’.
Mr Heald said: “I have no intention for Fishers Distillery to be a gin bar. We have a licenced hotel next door and we do not wish to compete with it.”
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East Coast Planning Services, for Fishers, said: “[The tours] are so important to the business that the entire upper floor (half of the building) is given over to this activity – the approved plans show the proposed arrangement for the upper floor with a 12-seater table, and lounge area that is now completed.
“The offsite activities will take guests into the environment that surrounds Aldeburgh, on fishing trips, river trips and the like.
“There is a plan to offer river trips and a ferry on the River Alde once the business is established. The business is founded on a conservation ethos and these activities will help to educate visitors about the ecology of this beautiful place.
“It is anticipated that the brand will in time be synonymous with the town in the same way that Adnams has become synonymous with Southwold.
“The provision of distillery tours with associated sales is a key element of the craft winery/distillery business. Without this the business is not commercially viable.
“The Fishers Gin distillery will be a very positive addition to the council’s tourism offer and to the overall economic well-being of Aldeburgh. However, it will only succeed if it is allowed to operate in line with the normal industry business model under which the vast majority of craft
The council said the tours could take place between 11am and noon and 2pm and 6pm and all members of the public must vacate the premises by 6.15pm. There shall not be more than three tours per day and each tour shall comprise a maximum of 14 guests.
It did not feel people leaving the premises after tours would have a significant impact on local residents.
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