A new gin distillery at Dunton is toasting success with order books filling up rapidly within just a few months of swinging into operation.
Business partners Jude De Souza and Peter Allingham are both passionate about gin and were keen to investigate the possibility of distilling their own.
After months of research, including a fact-finding trip to Holland, and completing copious paperwork required to set up a distillery, they produced their first batch of Archangel Gin in February.
The name is inspired by the location of the distillery in a converted stable block at Peter’s Dunton Hall Farm, which is on the pilgrim route to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
And Walsingham water is one of the elements which goes into making the gin, with distilling and brewing being traditional at monastic houses in the area.
Ingredients grown on the farm’s doorstep, such as juniper and lemon verbena, are used in the “pot and column” distillation process as well as botanicals from Norfolk and further afield.
Said Jude: “We both had this idea to start a business and as we both loved gin, we began research into setting up a small gin company. Distilling the gin is a real art and we had to experiment with the flavours using Norfolk botanicals.
“We have planted more than 200 juniper plants on the farm and also grow our own verbena. Sea buckthorn is another key ingredient. At the moment we have the one Archangel Gin recipe, but will be experimenting with other ideas.”
Archangel Gin is now available at retail outlets and restaurants across North West Norfolk and demand is high. “Within our first five months of trading we have had fantastic feedback, with some saying it’s a brilliant gin, which is a great compliment coming from some very respected establishments,” said Jude.
“We have to wait five weeks for every batch to allow the gin to bind with the water. We started off with a batch of 300 litres but demand has picked up so much, that we have had to double that now to 600 litres per month.
“This summer we have visited shows, such as Holkham Country Fair, where we have received a very enthusiastic response to our product.”