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Kent’s first artisan micro gin distillery: ANNO DISTILLERS

A small artisanal spirits producer based in the spectacular Kentish countryside, Anno Distillers is certainly proud to call The Garden of England its home. For it is here that Patience, Anno Distiller’s stunning copper-pot still, works its magic and transforms carefully selected natural ingredients, into premium spirits for your drinking pleasure.

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L-R, Andy, Kim & Norman

Anno Distillers, Kent’s first micro-distillery and the first to distil gin in the county for over 200 years, has opened its doors this spring in a bid to offer tours and tastings to the public.

The Marden-based distillery has been selling their super-premium handcrafted gin to the public since October last year, and it’s going down a treat. Combining an artisanal blend of local Kentish botanicals, with scientific expertise, these gin geniuses have successfully created Anno Kent Dry Gin, ‘The Spirit of Alchemy’, and by doing so, they have brought back the art of gin distillation to the county of Kent – an industry that has not been active here since the Georgian era.

Established back in 2011, Anno Distillers is the brainchild of Dr Andrew Reason and Dr Norman Lewis, two PhD research and development chemists, who chose to take early retirement from the pharmaceutical industry when their site near Hildenborough was closed. Having worked with one another for over 10 years, this dedicated duo – fuelled by their technical background in science and love for quality spirits – used this opportunity to follow their dreams and embark on their new venture.

Also within the company is Kim Reason, a master of science, biology graduate, and Andy’s youngest daughter. Kim heads up the sales, marketing and social media side of the business.

Meanwhile, pride of place in the distillery is Patience, Anno’s beautiful and uniquely designed 300-litre copper-pot still. It is in fact distillery tradition to name the still after a lady, and in this case, Patience was chosen as Anno believes it sufficiently reflects the long journey the company endured, from the time it was formed in 2011, to the tail-end of last year, when the final product hit the shelves across Kent and London.

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Although the lengthy wait proved to be a source of frustration for all, Andy explains: “It gave us plenty of time to carry out development work on our small still, and so allowed us to perfect the recipe we wanted.

“Distilling is both an art and a science. Unlike many distillers, our background working in the pharmaceutical industry and using similar apparatus, gives us a real understanding of the equipment’s capabilities. This therefore, allows us to produce the highest quality spirits.”

Housed in an eye-catching clear glass bottle, the design of Anno Kent Dry Gin incorporates a swirling green text that reflects through the liquid. This represents both the ‘Spirit of Alchemy’, and the hop bines of Kent. In addition, the combined Anno ‘A’ is an ancient alchemical symbol that describes the process of distillation, while the name Anno is constructed from the first two letters of the founders’ Christian names.

In order to tantalise the taste buds with the flavours of Kent, Anno Kent Dry Gin uses a range of Kentish botanicals, including a blend of sweet aromatic hops, lavender from the award-winning Downderry Nursery, rose hips, elderflower, and samphire from the Romney Marsh area. Of course, it also contains traditional gin botanicals, including juniper, coriander, angelica and cassia. These are then married together with citrus notes and the Kentish elements, to create a highly complex, but well-balanced gin.

For more information on upcoming tours, stockists, recipes and more, visit www.annodistillers.co.uk

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