The Badass Liquor Boss Series: Pinnock Gin

by | Apr 19, 2022 | Badass Liquor Boss Series

Pinnock Gin

It’s fair to say, we love a good drink with friends – after all, The Little Gin & Rum Co was born from our friendship!

Our badass spirits and their beautiful bottles represent years of hard graft and determination with a twist of femininity, reflecting our lives as businesswomen and more importantly, as mothers.

We’re always on the lookout for equally badass bosses and there’s nothing more we love than to share our passion and love for gin and rum with you, our online community. That’s why we’re kicking off The Badass Liquor Boss Series; a monthly blog featuring our favourite Badass Liquor Bosses – giving you the inside track into the graft, grind, love and life that goes into some of our favourite artisan gin and rum brands.

We’re kicking off the series with our good friend and fellow gin enthusiast Daniel Beckett of Pinnock Gin Distillery:

Hi Dan! Thanks for being part of the series. First question – What did you do before creating your gin?

I was a college lecturer for 11 years, running a Film and TV course.

What made you decide to create your gin and what’s the inspiration behind it?

Firstly, I’d had enough of my old job – I loved the teaching side, but had just had enough of all the politics, which was a shame. I decided to start a business, which was either going to be something media based, which I was trained in and was probably the sensible option, or something completely different like making booze, which seemed far more exciting to me than probably filming and editing wedding videos every week!

After umpteen brewery and distillery tours, I’d always had a hankering for maybe one day owning my own brewery or distillery, but always felt that the start-up costs would be too much. When I read an article one day about the craft distilling revolution and people legitimately making gin in their kitchens and garden sheds, I was totally hooked on the idea.  It took about 5-months of obtaining licences, constant swatting-up on gin-making articles and 30 odd goes to get the right recipe on a tiny 0.5L still.

I wanted it to be smooth enough to drink on its own, include at least three local botanicals/ingredients and incorporate some of the local history of the area, in and around Kineton in South Warwickshire. This predominantly centred around ‘The Battle of Edgehill’, where King Charles the 1st and his cavalier army clashed with the roundhead army in the first battle of the English Civil War in 1642.

It also turns out that Charles was the first ruler to bring into affect a tax on distilled alcohol, which was referred to as ‘strong waters’ and was generally seen as medicinal. As a result of the regulation, his physician, Sir Thomas Cademan wrote out a series of botanical recipes, which I obtained and were a heavy influence on my final recipe.

Pinnock Gin School

Tell us about your distillery – location, any names for your stills etc. and can you tell us about the distillation process and/or botanicals used?

After originally starting the business from my cottage kitchen, I have now moved the distillery up to the top of the tower at the Castle Inn at Edgehill, which has a tremendous amount of serendipity about it, as the pub sits upon the spot where King Charles raised his banner at the battle.

It’s a fantastic location, in what is probably the highest room in the county, so I feel extremely lucky to be now based there. It was the first pub to take the gin behind the bar when I started and Mark Higgs, who runs the castle was totally on-board with the idea of refurbishing the room at the top of the tower and turning it into a gin school and distillery. The connection was already there with my products story, so it all seemed like a great fit. It also meant that people could now visit the distillery and stay over, as well as have a meal and drink at the bar/restaurant downstairs – essentially a weekend experience.

I think we informally named my 40L pot still ‘Theodora’, as my mini still was called ‘Thumbelina‘ at the time, so there was a bit of a ring to it and Theo was the big sister. I usually produce over 100 bottles in each batch, using the double-shot method. In the Dry Gin I use: juniper, coriander, angelica, cassia, Seville orange peel, cubeb, fennel, and cardamom seeds, as well as the three local ingredients: Cotswold lavender, quince and honey.

What have been the biggest challenges/achievements, or your favourite story so far?

With minimal budget and getting everything off the ground by myself at the start was a pretty big challenge.

Also resisting going down the the third-party distilling route (not that there’s any problem with that), as learning everything from scratch has paid dividends and meant that I have been able to produce a lot of gins for clients, separately to my own.

Also, getting through the pandemic as a fairly new business (without a lot of the government financial aid) and establishing a new distillery and gin school during these uncertain times has been pretty stressful, but well worth the effort.

How would you describe your gin/s in 3 words? 

Something for everyone.

What’s your favourite way to drink your gin/s?

A slice of orange and grapefruit with the dry gin, over ice and Double Dutch Indian tonic. With the rhubarb & strawberry gin, I like it with Indian tonic again, either over ice and with fresh strawberries, or no ice and a handful of frozen summer berries (I’m not a gin snob!). With the sloe, damson & honey gin, I like it on its own, or on the rocks and in summer, with a slice of lemon, ice and lemon tonic.

What gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!) / any favourites at the moment?

Tanqueray Ten, No 209 and Deaths Door for my all time favourites. I recently tried Linden Leaf 88, which was exceptional and is now firmly in the favourites category too.

For our Queen Cleo range; we were inspired by the tale of the Badass Liquor Boss Gertrude “Cleo” Lythgoe. So we’re asking all our guest bloggers – what do you think makes you a Badass Liquor Boss?!

Well I’m not as badass as Cleo was by the sounds of it, but there’s definitely been some excitement, intrigue and toughness involved so far. Lot’s of people have said how they have admired and have been inspired by how I left my old job to start this up, which is extremely flattering and makes me feel embarrassed, but I’ll often say how ‘It’s incredible what you can achieve and the lengths you’ll go to, when you’re desperate!’

In my case I was unhappy in my old job and desperately needed a change. People see it as a risk to leave employment, but if you have a decent business idea, confidence in your own convictions and need to make the jump, then go for it. Have no regrets! I never saw it as a risk, so maybe that’s badass? Who knows?!

What’s next / any exciting plans?

New products! 2022 is the year where I want to really expand the range. I have a rum coming out soon and I also want to bring out a couple of other dry gins, a navy strength gin and maybe a barrel aged gin.

Now we have the new gin school, there’s a lot more scope for innovation, so it’s time to add to the Pinnock Distillery range.

Thanks Dan! Did you know, we regularly use Pinnock Gins in our Virtual Tasting and Events? If you’d like to find out more about Pinnock Gins, the distillery or the gin school visit: www.pinnockdistillery.com.

HERE’S OUR STORY

After 4 years of being together we never thought that we would one day we would be in business together. Who knew where a simple text message could lead….

It all started with a conversation with Nicola at one of The Little Gin and Rum Company’s events in Leeds. Amy sent a message to Ian saying “Do you fancy buying a gin and rum company?”, and the wheels were set in motion.

OUR BACKGROUND

IAN:

“As a sales professional travelling the UK and the world, I have made travelling and alcohol my thing.  With over 20 years experience supplying the hospitality industry with software and e-learning, I can’t wait to start sharing Queen Cleo Spirits with the industry I love.  You’ll usually find me with my favourite Queen Cleo Rum with ginger ale.”

AMY:

“Where Ian loves sales, I love marketing and as a digital marketing trainer and professional public speaker, I always have a lot to say.  When Nicola and Emma started virtual events in lockdown, I jumped at the opportunity to talk about gin and rum and nearly 200 events later, I still love it.  Old Tom is my favourite tipple and I’ll even drink it neat with just a cube of ice and a squeeze of lime.”

THE FUTURE

Nicola and Emma have created a gin and rum legacy and we are honoured to take it into the future.   

We can’t wait to share our plans with you and we promise to make Queen Cleo proud. 

You know our favourite Queen Cleo drinks and we’d love to know yours.  Share them with us on Instagram #littleginandrumco.

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