The Best Distilleries in England
England has long been a country that has appreciated fine liquor. While they’re mostly content to let Scotland, their northern neighbor, carry the bulk of the island’s whisky production, there are still plenty of amazing distilleries down south who are producing everything from seaweed-infused gin to a modern-day take on grappa. Some are larger companies — like Beefeater or Sipsmith — that enjoy worldwide popularity, while others are brand new and serve the tastes of the local population first.
Gin especially has been associated with the English since the Gin Craze of 1695-1735, where half the drinking establishments in London were gin shops. While most people have stopped distilling gin in their bathtubs and drinking it in the streets, there is still a rich history of inventive English gins that is very much worth exploring.
There are several types of gin, including London Dry (which is unsweetened, made of a specific formula of grain, and contains no added ingredients other than water), and Plymouth gin, which follows all those rules but must be distilled in Plymouth, England.
The Plymouth Distillery is the home of Plymouth gin since they were the first distillery to bottle and serve gin in the area. They opened in 1793, just a few years after regulations made it impossible for people to distill gin at home. They offer several interesting options including Navy Strength, Sloe Gin, and their signature gin. Tours range from 40 minutes to 2.5 hours and cover the company’s history as well as their methods of production.
Take a guided tour, sample & learn about the art of making the world-famous Gin. pic.twitter.com/dc2mdpc020
— Visit Plymouth (@visitplymouth) May 9, 2018
Beefeater Home of Gin
Beefeater Gin is one of the world’s most recognizable gin brands and is generally offered to patrons as the default option in most regular bars. They’ve been in business since 1863, and until just a few years ago, the company was under the same family’s control. In 1987, they sold out to the French liquor brand Pernod Ricard.
Even though the place is under new management, they’ve kept things as authentic as possible. If you want to take a tour, you can visit their distillery in the Kennington area of London, which produces over 20 million liters of gin a year.
— Evolve Hospitality (@EvolveStaff) May 2, 2017
The Cotswolds Distillery
One of the youngest distilleries on this list is the Cotswolds Distillery, which opened in 2014. Even though they’re young, they’ve already picked up some press for their Cotswolds Dry Gin, which they say is a London Dry with an aromatic twist.
While their gin and the batch of whisky that they began aging in 2014 are their two main offerings, they occasionally experiment with other types of liquor (like the absinthe they’re currently bottling), which are generally only available from their bottle shop. This distillery is located in the gorgeous Cotswolds region, and is a great stop if you’re traveling through the area.