It started with an idea and grew from there.
How It Began
Back in early 2018 we wondered how hard it could be to create our own gin.
So we bought a small copper alembic still from Portugal and started distilling from home in the kitchen. Technically illegal without a license from HMRC!
After dozens of experiments, we came up with a dry gin that we thought other people might like as well.
Popcorn Sutton, our copper alembic still from Portugal.
A Plan Comes Together
So we now have a gin we want to sell. How hard can it be to (legally) open a distillery?
Turns out much harder than we thought.
Cue over a year of research, visits to trade shows and speaking to lots of potential suppliers.
There’s a lot of permissions we need. Limited company, VAT registered, multiple HMRC licenses, planning permission, premises license to retail booze, personal license to sell booze, hygiene inspection by the council, trading standards compliance visit. And that’s not the full list!
Putting The Distillery Together
We had the funds to start a spirits brand and get somebody else to make it, or do it the hard way and actually open a distillery.
So we did something really stupid and decided to open our own distillery. Tameside’s first ever distillery it turns out.
The next challenge was to find premises that were suitable. Clean, good access, not too expensive. Easier said than done. After much searching, we found the ideal premises in July 2019.
Now what? We’ve never worked in a distillery before, so we didn’t know exactly what equipment we needed. More research, a ton of money spent and some long days (and nights). Bit by bit, we started turning an empty industrial unit into a fully working distillery.
We almost forgot about the finished product. We needed ingredients, bottles, stoppers, capsules, labels, barcodes and boxes.
Fast forward to the end of November 2019 and we are good to go, with our very first product release: Tameside Gin.
Eric & Rhiannon, the production stills used to create our products.
We are not afraid to experiment. Walter White meets Willy Wonka.
Our experiments (and actual releases) also include rum, vodka and liqueurs. Plus other concoctions we don’t know what to call!
Not all of our creations see the light of day as an actual release. We hope you enjoy the ones that do.
We are one of the few British producers of rum that is made from scratch and released our first batch in 2022.
Currently we are the only distillery in North West England creating rum from our own fermentation.
We start by fermenting sugarcane molasses, with plenty of “dunder” and a long fermentation time.
The wash is then distilled twice before being aged with oak.
In 2023 we started “cold brewing” coffee in alcohol. It’s nothing like the mass produced coffee liqueurs in the supermarket. Real coffee beans, real coffee flavour.
We also create our own spice extract for our Pumpkin Spice coffee liqueur.
The fermentation stage of our rum.
The 2nd distillation stage of our rum.
Willow Wood Hospice is an adult hospice providing specialist palliative care for patients with life limiting illnesses.
They celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2019.
We distil and bottle their unique gin and vodka. We support the charity by subsidising each bottle of spirit we supply.
More information: www.willowwood.info
We are approved by SALSA.
What is SALSA? It is a food-safety standard and stands for “Safe and Local Supplier Approval”.
The SALSA audit – and the ongoing requirements to maintain certification – are much stricter than the hygiene inspection by our local authority.
SALSA certification is only granted to suppliers who are able to demonstrate to an auditor that they are able to produce safe and legal products and are committed to continually meeting the requirements of the SALSA standard.