Southwold: Brewer Adnams enters into the spirit

LEADING brewer Adnams will today officially launch the first gin and vodka products from its new small-scale distillery in Southwold.

The company, whose name until now has been associated chiefly with beers and wine, announced plans to extend its brand into small-run, hand-crafted spirits earlier this year.

Distilling equipment was installed in September in a former copper house which was redundant following a refit of the company’s brewery, and the first products have been completed on schedule in time for the pre-Christmas sales period.

“We are hugely pleased with the first results.” said company chairman Jonathan Adnams,

“Small scale distillation produces spirits of a quality and character that far surpass mass-produced products. The addition of a small distillery to breweries is not uncommon in mainland Europe, but I believe we are the first brewery in the UK to brew beer and distil spirits on the same premises.”

The initial launch involves two gins and two vodkas. Adnams Distilled Gin and Adnams Barley Vodka (both 40% alcohol by volume) are produced from 100% East Anglian malted barley, with the gin being flavoured with juniper berries and five other “botannicals”.

Adnams First Rate Gin and Adnams Longshore Premium Vodka (both 48% abv) are made from a blend of local wheat, barley and rye, with a total of 13 different botannicals used to flavour the gin. The range will grow further next month with the launch of Adnams North Cove Oak Aged Vodka (50% abv), which is being matured in oak barrels in cellars below the distillery.

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Work is also about to start on the distillery’s first whisky products although, due to the lengthy maturation process involved, it will be three years before these are ready for sale.

The gin and vodka products will be available for retail in Adnams’ chain of Cellar & Kitchen stores and via its website, and will also be available to customers in its hotels and many of its pubs.

They will also be offered through the company’s wider distribution chain to other hotels, restaurants and pubs.

In processing terms, the move into spirits was a natural step for the company to take, said Mr Adnams, as the production process for spirits began in similar fashion to the brewing of beer, only without the use of hops.

The Copper House Distillery, as the new facility has been named, represents an investment by the company of around �650,000.

It has a glazed front which allows passers-by to see the attractive copper distillery kit while visitors inside the building get unrivalled views across Southwold and out to sea.

In keeping with Adnams’ green credentials, the equipment has been installed in a loop which also includes the company’s cask washing facility so that the warm water produced in the distilling process is recycled.

Waste from the distilling process will, like that from the brewery, be processed in the recently launched anaerobic digestion plant located at Adnams’ distribution centre at Reydon to be converted into renewable gas, to power the production of more beers and spirits.