Sussex vineyard announces launch of sister distillery

5th August, 2013 by Amy Hopkins

A Sussex winery has announced the creation of an artisan spirits range that includes a premium award-winning Sussex dry gin.

The Blackdown London Dry Gin that was awarded Gold in The Spirits Business Gin Masters

The Blackdown London Dry Gin that was awarded Gold in The Spirits Business Gin Masters

The owners of Lurgashall Winery have expanded their product range with the launch of Blackdown Artisan Spirits to “ensure the continued success and future growth” of the business.

The selection includes the Blackdown Sussex Dry Gin (37.5% abv), the Blackdown Sussex Vodka (37.5% abv), the Blackdown Sussex Bianco Vermouth (14.7% abv) and the Blackdown Sussex Elderberry Port (19% abv).

Each product is hand-produced in small batches using ingredients sourced from local and English producers.

Sarah Thompson, who owns Blackdown Artisan Spirits with her husband Nathan, and Lurgashall Winery with another partner, said: “The Blackdown Spirits brand stands for quality, refinement, taste and affordability, values which we believe are important to our discerning customers.”

She added that after the Blackdown Sussex Dry Gin was awarded gold in the Premium category of The Spirits Business Gin Masters, she was prompted to create an artisan range of spirits, which she had previously used for wine fortification and liqueurs.

The branding of the new range is also markedly different to Lurgashall, with Thompson claiming she wanted a ‘clean, clear, and gender neutral’ brand.

She added: “The packaging is understated but also has a strong shelf presence. It was out intention to brand the wine and spirits businesses completely differently as they have very different customer bases.”

Future plans for the company, which is based at the foot of the Blackdown Hills near the Southdowns National Park, include the production of special edition brandy, mulling vodka and a selection of Meads, all of which are planned for release this autumn.

Blackdown has so-far produced an estimated 60,000 litres across the whole range and has a yearly capacity for one million bottles. Thompson added that she would ideally like to eventually produce 10,000 bottles a month.

The bottles are currently distributed throughout the South East of the UK but the company plans to take the products abroad next summer, setting Spain and America as prime targets. Thompson emphasised that she was eager to build up a local presence first.

She added: “We do not have any constraints here at Blackdown – we have a great amount of flexibility and can play around with recipes as you would in your own kitchen. I am over the moon with the way things have been going – I just do not want to lose the momentum.”

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