Gin tasting experience launches in city as brand bags London fans

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place.Brand Ambassador Molly Taylor mixin

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place. Brand Ambassador Molly Taylor mixing the gins. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Archant

A historic city distiller is taking on the big boys down in London and showing them how quality gin is made. 

Bullards - a brand born in Norwich in 1837 - has opened its latest store in Covent Garden to huge demand. 

But the brand, which operates out of Crystal House in Norwich's Cattle Market Street, also has some extra treats for folk heading out in Norwich this Christmas. 

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. Byline: Sonya Duncan

The brand has launched its gin experience at its shop in Chantry Place just in time for an office party or two. 

The gin experience sees visitors talked through the history of gin, the background of the Bullards name and proper tasting techniques - of course trialled with the brand's signature spirits. 

The session - which usually last between 45 minutes and an hour - are finished off with a thirst-quenching gin and tonic. 

Tamsen Macro of Bullards

Tamsen Macro of Bullards - Credit: Archant

Russell Evans, director of the spirit brand, said: "It's wonderful to bring a bit of the high-quality gin we make here in Norwich to London. 

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"The store in Covent Garden has exceeded my wildest dreams."

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The gin experience sessions are led by the brand's gin ambassador Tamsen Macro who said: "The history of gin is fascinating - there's a lot of gin still on the shelves today which people don't know the meaning of and a lot of phrases also come from the gin craze.

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place.Brand Ambassador Helen Butterworth

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place. Brand Ambassador Helen Butterworth Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Archant

"For example, a lot of people don't know that London Dry gin is a specific process - you can't add any flavouring after the distilling process, just water.

"When you see the phrase dry London gin on bottles that means something else has been added afterwards. 

"Likewise, people used to make gin with the likes of turpentine. It made people go blind - hence we get the phrase 'blind drunk'."

Of course Bullards' tipples are of a far higher quality than the booze the poor folk in William Hogarth's famous 1751 painting Gin Lane were swigging.  

And the gin experiences are just a flavour of events to come from Bullards. 

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place.Brand Ambassador Molly Taylor mixin

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place. Brand Ambassador Molly Taylor mixing the gins. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The team are also looking to launch cocktail masterclasses in the new year. 

Mr Evans added: "What's wonderful about going to London is that people don't know the brand down there like they do here. 

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place.Byline: Sonya Duncan

Bullards Gin Tasting Experience at their store in Chantry Place. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Archant

"People down there experience it for the first time and want to taste it - but when they do we see a 75pc conversion rate to a sale."

A short history of gin

Like many of Britain's favourite drinks gin didn't originate from the UK. 

Unless you count Italian monks which used juniper to flavour existing spirits the first gin on record was distilled in the Netherlands. 

A Dutch physician named Franciscus Sylvius is widely thought to be the ‘inventor’ of gin having started prescribing a juniper-based distilled spirit for medicinal purposes in 1550. 

People in England started drinking it while staying in Holland and used it to calm their nerves when fighting Spain in the Thirty Years War. 

They brought it home and in 1683 the Worshipful Company of Distillers was formed by King Charles I.

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