One jumps at the chance to spend a day at London's Beefeater Distillery, particularly when given a personal tour by Beefeater's master distiller Desmond Payne. Gracious and mannered, Payne has been making gin for over 40 years, his early days being at Plymouth Gin. As a guest of Beefeater, my trip to London was full of unforgettable days, and this was one of them.
Join me on the photo tour, above, through the distillery, one that has been in operation since 1820 - the longest running London Dry Gin actually made in London.
Beefeater's unique process is that they steep their 9 botanicals (juniper, angelica root, angelica seeds, coriander, liquorice, almonds, orris root, Seville oranges, lemon peel) for 24-hours in copper pot stills with water and a neutral grain base of English wheat. All this with only five year-round staff? Impressive at over 2 million cases a year.
Payne has been producing a series of seasonal releases, like Beefeater Winter Gin in December, a Summer Gin (floral notes from elderflower and hibiscus), and a brand new London Market Gin (with kaffir lime and cardamom) that sadly we won't see released in the US.