Norwich gin makers quit historic city centre building

Crystal House in Cattle Market Street now sits empty following Bullards' departure

Crystal House in Cattle Market Street now sits empty following Bullards' departure - Credit: Maya Derrick

A city-founded gin company has left a prominent city centre building.

Bullards had been based out of Crystal House in Cattle Market Street since 2018, where curious passers-by could peer through the glass and watch the gin-making process in real time.

But now the gin company has moved its stills to another unit outside of Norwich - although the heart of the business is still very much in the city, bosses said.

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place.Russell Evans, founder of Bullards.

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place. Russell Evans, founder of Bullards - Credit: Sonya Duncan

There had previously been plans to turn the the Grade II listed building into a luxury oyster restaurant, as well as hosting gin tours.

Managing director, Russell Evans, said: "After the pandemic turning the building into a visitor attraction wasn't the way we wanted to go.

"We're concentrating on having the gin experience in all of our shops instead including in Chantry Place and Jarrold.

Crystal House in Cattle Market Street now sits empty following Bullards' departure

Crystal House in Cattle Market Street now sits empty following Bullards' departure - Credit: Maya Derrick

"We also have our London stores including one in Henrietta Street in Covent Garden.

Most Read

"We're taking cocktail-making masterclasses and sampling to the people rather than people coming to us for the experience.

"We concluded that the building is not practical solely as a production unit."

The booze boss continued: "Leaving Crystal House doesn't really change anything for us. 

"It's a beautiful building but having production in the middle of the city centre with no customer interaction made little sense.

Crystal House in Cattle Market Street now sits empty following Bullards' departure

Crystal House in Cattle Market Street now sits empty following Bullards' departure - Credit: Maya Derrick

"We decided to move away from distillery tours and focus on the fun parts of gins, which is drinking it."

Bullards is now distilling out of a purpose-built unit in Smallburgh, 13 miles outside of Norwich.

He added: "Crystal House is a beautiful building, but the main intention was for a visitor centre, which we decided that we couldn't do anymore.

Russell Evans, Bullards managing director, at their distillery on Cattle Market Street. Picture: Ell

Russell Evans, Bullards managing director, at the distillery in Cattle Market Street - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

"We're getting bigger and it was getting to the point where it was not practical to make product at Crystal House any longer.

"We've just signed a five-year lease for our amazing new shop in Covent Garden - which opened permanently after six months as a pop-up - so there's plenty of exciting things going on.

"We were the first people to do this kind of tasting experience, so we're cutting edge and we know what works."