London Distillery Company returns to BatterseaBy Annie Hayes
Dodd’s Gin producer The London Distillery Company (TLDC) will relocate to Battersea Power Station, with plans to create Europe’s “biggest” gin bar, a hidden members’ club, barber shop, nano-brewery and on-site printworks.
Speaking exclusively to The Spirits Business, chief executive and co-founder Darren Rook said the Bermondsey-based distillery will relocate to a 5,000 sqft location on the site of the iconic London landmark, stretching to 6,500 sqft once mezzanines are constructed.
Inside, the distillery will benefit from a retail shop, a barber shop, a hidden member’s club “with a whisky twist”, a printworks to create bottle labels, a laboratory, and a botanical storage space with living plant walls.
Further plans for TLDC include Europe’s “biggest” gin bar, which will hold a “British-library style” archive of gins. The company has currently reserved “around 300” gins with London-based gin collector The Old Spirits Company, which date from the 1920s to the 1990s.
The distillery will also house a nano-brewery, which will feed through to the bar.
“It’s part of the vision of the company to create these really convivial educational spaces that cover a bit of everything and can be a social space, an event space, and host tours at the same time,” said Rook.
The company has historic ties to Battersea – in 1807, entrepreneur Ralph Dodd attempted to build a whisky and gin distillery on the Battersea Power Station site.
More than 200 years later, Rook and co-founder Nick Taylor incorporated the company and brought it back to life, opening a distillery in the surrounding district. The company’s inaugural product, Dodd’s Gin, was unveiled in 2013 – named in his honour.
Soon after the site was sold to a developer, forcing TLDC to relocate to Bermondsey, where it has remained since.
The new site will have “at least” three gin duplicate stills modelled on the distillery’s existing still, Christina, with Rook adding that he is “working on” other equipment with still manufacturers as part of a future vision to build a “distiller’s row”.
These “satellite distilleries” will each focus on individual spirits categories – beginning with dedicated gin and whisky sites, and “potentially” a brandy or liqueur distillery.
He explained: “In that process we’re saying ‘okay, in these different sites let’s source different stills from different companies’ – so where we’re making rye, we’ll get a still that suits that production style, for example a Vendome from North America.”
Rook also detailed plans to move into non-alcoholic spirits, adding that TLDC has “done a little bit of development work already”, with plans to create a juniper-forward non-alcoholic ‘gin’.
Looking ahead, Rook said: “I’m always looking to make everything. It’s difficult because we’re a small team – once we start hiring more people there’ll definitely be things that come up that we can’t do now.
“I’d love to do vermouth, I’d love to do a bit of everything – absinthe, liqueurs. I want to make sure the products are done properly and that we’re also innovating a little bit.
“This is where we’re playing around with the still manufacturers – to do some fun little variations in the way the kit works and see if it makes a difference.”
TLDC aims to raise “up to” £2 million to facilitate the project and enable sales growth by launching a crowd-funding platform and seeking asset finance.
The project is still in the architectural stages, with building beginning in 12-14 weeks, and production slated to begin mid-summer.