Craft distiller Durham Distillery has won two awards at this year’s Quality Drink Awards. Durham Gin and Durham Vodka beat stiff competition from across the spirits industry to win the national gin and vodka categories.
The Quality Drink Awards recognise excellence in product development in the drinks industry. The judging process is fully impartial and takes into account not only the product itself, but also packaging and branding.
The small-batch craft distillery, based in the outskirts of Durham, has been distilling since 2013 and is one of the UK’s most traditional distilleries, using only the highest quality ingredients and a 400 litre copper pot called Lily (after the owner’s daughter).
Jon Chadwick, founder and owner of Durham Distillery, comments: “I am massively proud of this achievement. We are truly passionate about what we do and believe we produce great products. Recognition like this helps to cement our beliefs and these two wins are a big moment for us. It is an amazing achievement for the whole team, and helps reiterate that we are indeed doing things right!”
Jess Tomlinson, head distiller at Durham Distillery, explains: “I am so excited to have won these two awards last night. We hand-craft our vodka and gin in small batches using traditional methods and quality ingredients, and it is such an achievement to have that recognised in this manner. I am involved in the whole process from start to finish so the end product really means a lot!”
The Durham Distillery Way…
Firstly, juniper berries are hand crushed and added to other robust botanicals, including angelica and pink peppercorn. This combination is placed into a mixture of locally sourced spring water and pure grain spirit and left to infuse, or macerate overnight in the still. The next morning a second batch of botanicals is added and the still heated, making vapours rise through a copper tube called a lyne arm. Mounted on the lyne arm is the gin basket which contains the third and final set of lighter, more delicate botanicals.
Its distinctive flavours...
Spicy - the pink peppercorn creates a warm spicy top note
Savoury - celery seed adds a distinctive savoury character
Sweet - finishing with the light floral sweetness of elderflower
The tails of the gin are gathered and slowly filtered through a custom built filtration column, based on the Lincoln County column used by Jack Daniels. It takes up to two weeks to filter and once complete the lyne arm of the still is changed over, and the filtrate redistilled. Another round of distilling takes place as required to ensure the finished article is perfect. The result of all of this process? A few hundred bottles of smooth, clean vodka a month.