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The Stillery in line for one of the Oscars in the Pub Industry

PUBLISHED: 12:27 28 August 2018

Niall Cockram, left, and Tim Blake, at The Stillery, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

Niall Cockram, left, and Tim Blake, at The Stillery, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

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One of the most quirky and fledgling cocktail spirit bars in Suffolk has been shortlisted for a top accolade as part of the Great British Pub Awards.

Niall Cockram, left, and Tim Blake, at The Stillery, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOKNiall Cockram, left, and Tim Blake, at The Stillery, in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

The Stillery, which is nestled upstairs in The Snug, in Bury St Edmunds, is one of five in the

Best Spirits Bar/Pub category.

It is up against the Fiesta Havana, in Chester; The Mad Hatter, Oxford; Phoenix Artist Club, Soho, London; and Ye Old Sun Inn, Tadcaster, in North Yorkshire; and will know if they are the winners at the finals of what is recognised as “the Oscars of the Pub Industry” on Thursday, September 6, at a glistening awards ceremony being held at the Royal Lancaster, in London.

Apart from selling and marketing their Stillery London Dry on the premises the bar seats up to 45 people and is a buzzing hub for the discerning gin drinker.

The Stillery, which has been operational for two years, claims to be a “speak-easy” style cocktail bar which is passionate about serving a range of top quality drinks and making their own as it has its distillery on site. It is open Friday and Saturday evenings.

Tim Blake, one of four owners of the bar, said: “Apart from selling and distilling gin our educational programme is important; we do courses where people come in and learn about cocktails, learn about spirits, learn about making gin and in the bar, when we are open, we engage with customers with what they’re buying and why they’re buying it which has become important part of our business.

“It’s been an interesting project for us and we have one gin that we have here and sell as well; Ickworth House use it as their house gin and 1921 resturant stock it as well.

“The consumer has got a thirst for different products and we are tapping into that.

“When we set out to make Stillery London Dry I just wanted to make a gin that your nan smelt of, I wanted a good cocktail gin.

“It’s great and we use a lovely set of botanicals which give different things - a bit of spice, a bit of sweetness and a bit of fruit - but it’s not a pink gin, it’s not not a fruity ginny gin it’s a good cocktail gin and tonic.

“What we are doing here is a bit different. We are not your sort of normal bar, we are almost challenging the way people drink and challenging the idea of how people go out. We are challenging the process and making it an experience for them.

“The range of cocktails/gins that we have are thought out for a reason rather then getting something that everyone else is drinking and with the educational part we are encouraging people to drink better so the idea of winning something like this is that we are not just your standard bar, we are attempting to get that recognition in changing attitudes to drinking.

“I just think that we’re doing something right.”

And bar manager Niall Cockram added: “It’s quite easy to get lost into that same weekly routine of coming in and running a business and not adapting it.”

There are 19 categories in the awards, ranging from Best Family Pub to Best Freehouse and Best Sports Pub.

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