Duchess of Northumberland opens new distillery for rapidly expanding gin business

A new gin distillery offering much-needed extra space for a Northumberland business has been officially opened.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 11:44 pm
The Duchess of Northumberland presents competition winner Rachel Haddy with a bottle of Alnwick Gin. Picture: Northumberland Spirit Co.

The Northumberland Spirit Co. was established in Alnwick in 2016 and quickly became known as a producer of high-quality gin.

Its original product, Alnwick Gin, became an award-winner in 2018 when it won a silver medal in the London Spirits Competition.

With the company expanding rapidly, new premises were required and Rock Estates came to its assistance with the offer of the former sports hall that had been built on the site of the original Blacksmith’s forge and hall on the estate.

Neil Osborne, managing director of Northumberland Spirit Co, presents the Duchess of Northumberland with a bottle of Alnwick Gin. Picture: Northumberland Spirit Co.

Since moving into Blacksmith’s Hall the company has continued to grow and now produce a wide range of gins and gin based liqueurs.

With this growth it was necessary to increase capacity and in 2019 a new still, purchased with assistance from Leader Coast and Lowland Plan, was installed and commissioned to meet the ever-growing demand.

As stills are traditionally named after women, the reasons for this being lost in the mists of time, Northumberland Spirit Co. decided to ask their Facebook followers to suggest a name for the still.

Several suggestions followed and after a staff vote a unanimous decision was reached for the name ‘Jane, The Duchess’.

The Duchess of Northumberland unveils the new still at Blacksmith's Hall, Rock

On Thursday, the Duchess of Northumberland was invited to officially name the distillery ‘Blacksmith’s Hall Distillery’ and name the still ‘Jane, The Duchess’.

Rachel Haddy from Somerset was the Facebook follower who suggested the name and she made the long journey up to Rock attend the event.

Mayor of Alnwick, Lynda Wearn, said: “It was a lovely event. They did a demonstration using Alnwick rose petals which was very interesting – and strong!”

Neil Osborne, managing director of Northumberland Spirit Co. said: “We would like to thank everybody who has supported us since the company started in 2016.

“It’s pleasing to see a Northumberland company going from strength to strength and to be able to promote this fabulous county that we live and work in.

“We would like to thank Her Grace for carrying out the naming ceremony today and also to our competition winner Rachel Haddy for making the long journey north to join us.

“There are lots of plans for Northumberland Spirit Co. and these will be revealed over the coming weeks and months.

“As they say “watch this space!’”

To celebrate this occasion Northumberland Spirit Co. have produced a 100-bottle limited edition of ‘Alnwick Gin, Duchess Edition’ using a recipe especially created for the event. These bottles are exclusively available to purchase from The Alnwick Garden and Alnwick Castle when they re-open for the 2020 season.