Fifteen Instagram followers messaged me on the same day asking me why I hadn’t ever featured the Clevedon Distillery and Pier Gin on @facesofclevedon? What Clevedon Distillery? What Pier Gin? It was news to me and I have to say I’m a bit of a gin hound! Having said that I’m not going to berate myself too much because at time of writing they haven’t yet launched! The official launch date is next Saturday 17th April, 2021.
The Clevedon Distillery is the creation of Nicholas Garrick and his partner, Łukasz Szejka seen here dropping off their locally sourced botanicals for the first batch of their signature gin, Pier Gin Classic. Nicholas and Łukasz moved to Clevedon three years ago from Bristol; much as they enjoyed living in Bristol, they have always loved Clevedon and were looking for a change of lifestyle. Both run successful businesses already, Nicholas is founding director of Lighting up Learning, an education consultancy and Łukasz runs a creative hair consultancy business at LS Studio_hair in Bristol.
“Our typical working lives have changed” explained Nicholas, “we have greater flexibility working from home and on reduced hours”.
The new business has been a welcome diversion and a brand new and different direction for both of them, building on the complementary skills of both creativity and business acumen.
The idea for the business was something Nicholas and Łukasz had mulled over for some time, and it was a visit to Welsh distilleries in between lockdowns that cemented their ideas! It was all systems go from that point!
They approached Dom and Alex, owners of the recently opened Vintage and Vine, bottle shop and bar https://www.vintageandvine.co.uk and the very successful, award winning Puro restaurant in Clevedon which happily opens again on 19th May. As you can imagine, Dom and Alex were super helpful and were delighted to talk through their business plans from a ‘critical friend’ perspective. They put them in touch with Joe from Chew Valley Distillery https://cvdistillery.co.uk who was equally generous in terms of support, and a particularly valuable contact having launched his own business recently and sharing so many of the values that underpin the Clevedon Distillery.
The support of these two businesses didn’t stop with words of advice and the sharing of stories, both have gone on to offer fabulous practical support which has brought that launch date closer and promises to ensure further growth.
Joe, seen here with Nicholas and Lukasz at his Chew Valley Distillery has enabled the Clevedon Distillery to produce their first batch, taking tremendous pressure from the couple who originally planned to produce it from their home. This is an interim measure because all being well The Clevedon Distillery will start to produce their own range of gins later this year. They are currently searching for a home for their business, needing space for stills, a room for bottling and storage and another for tasting, making and other gin experiences. There are a few possible locations on the table but the success of the initial launch will help make that decision easier.
The inspiration of the Clevedon Distillery is the changing seasons on local coastal paths, gardens, woodlands and beaches. The signature gin, Pier Gin Classic is a London-dry gin. In addition, they are launching four seasonal small batch gins which echo the botanicals found in and around Clevedon which are either foraged by themselves, grown by friends or sourced by local partners.
Their aspiration is to have the smallest carbon footprint possible of any gin. Their mantra is ‘low miles, low carbon’ and is lived out by the choices they make, such as using locally grown botanicals where possible.
After months of researching and testing, Clevedon Distillery’s signature gin is on the market with Pier Gin Classic’s first batch selling out within twenty four hours. Their first seasonal gin Coastal is also now available to order along with the Classic. The Clevedon Distillery are offering free Clevedon delivery, a Bristol collection point or free postal delivery (for a limited time) when ordering directly through their website and all options include a 10% off next purchase. The final three seasons will follow with special editions popping up when inspiration happens. Pier Gin is featuring as the house gin at Vintage and Vine.
Their Classic consists of core vapour-infused botanicals including juniper, coriander, angelica and lemon peel, with a top note of orris root – best served with a top tonic and a zest of lime to give a crisp tasting drink.
The Coastal conjures up light, wild, spring-like tastes of elderflower, wild fennel and gorse, designed for long walks on a spring day along a sunny, but cold, coastal path. Best drunk with ice, a great tonic and zest of lemon (or in a hip flask on the walk!).
The Garden evokes the memory of late summer days, the lazy buzz of bees and a tall glass of something cold. Gooseberry underpinned by a warm hit of sage and a hint of sweetness of borage honey, makes this gin designed for slow sipping with a soda water, sparkling wine or champagne or plenty of ice and a sprig of rosemary. This will be released on 21st June, the first day of Summer.
The Woodland has autumnal earthy notes of elderberry, tart blackberry and fruity plum which makes it a great all year round drinker. The fruit notes mean different tonics and garnishes will bring out different flavours depending on what you like. This will be released on 22nd September, the first day of Autumn.
And finally Shoreline’s shiny sea buckthorn and juicy pepper dulse seaweed, herald winter. Infused with organic sea salt, this gin is best served short, over ice as well as making a great Martini. It is great for slow sipping with a cheese smorgasbord in front of a roaring fire. This will be released on 1st December, the first day of Advent. A perfect Christmas present for those gin lovers in your life!
If you’re a gin enthusiast as I am, I’m sure you’d like to know a little bit more about what’s on offer from The Clevedon Distillery. There will be tasting sessions which can be either face to face or on zoom; they will even come and host in your own home if this is something you would like (obviously in the coming months, when allowed).
Future plans include having a go at making your own gin with unique, day-long experiences where you can explore botanicals and produce your very own gin with a lunch included. Even better, if you like your gin, they will hold your recipe on file and you can order a batch of it at any time. I’m thinking what a wonderful present this would be for my gin loving friends and family!
And last but by no means least, there is the CLUB Gin! Twelve 70cl bottles over 12 months – a bottle of gin each month, some from the Clevedon Distillery and some of their favourites such as Chew Valley Gin and Gunpowder Irish Gin. Members of the gin club will also get a 12% discount when ordering new and special editions online via the website. Gin Club members (and a plus one) will also be invited to gin development sessions each year which will consist of blind tasting to help the business refine their botanical balances.
I asked Nicholas and Łukasz about their vision for the future and they would like to head up a business which boasts a net zero carbon footprint. They’ve made a good start and are absolutely clear about how they will improve. Their passion is to keep everything from botanicals to bottles as local as possible and they aspire to source as much as they can from the south-west – you couldn’t get much more local than seaweed from under the Pier! They plan to use 100% renewable energy; electric transportation; and the bottling process will make use of completely recycled, biodegradable, organic materials. Sounds good to me!
I think it’s quite a brave move to start such a business at the moment but I’m sure it will be a huge success because gin is the most popular spirits drink in the UK; craft gin distillers and premium gin brands have almost tripled during the past six years. Add to this a massive commitment to responsible sourcing and sustainability and a partnership with like-minded individuals and I think you have a successful business.
You’ll find The Clevedon Distillery website here https://bit.ly/3d33Y7D They are on Facebook and Insta @clevedondistillery and Twitter @clevedondistill You can also contact them or them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07825 661256