The U.K.’s Eco-Friendly Gin Distillery

Nelson's Distillery

Nelson's Distillery

Nelson's Distillery

With the beer industry making headway in the eco-friendly sector it seemed only a matter of time before the spirit market followed suit.

And one distillery in particular is making waves with its commitment to the environment. Nelson’s Distillery, which is located in Staffordshire, recently won a green impact award for its eco credentials, which 50-year-old founder Neil Harrison says is one of the company’s most important priorities.

“The distillery sits on a fully sustainable site—Grindley Business Village—which is about to go completely off grid next year. We’re powered by a wind turbine and an anaerobic digester, which also sends power back to the grid when we’re not using it. So we help to reduce greenhouse gases.”

Harrison launched his company in 2015, after spending three years secretly developing flavors for his version of London Dry Gin.

“Whilst I cannot claim this gin to be unique, it is, very definitely, unusual,” he says. “Unusual because it is brimming with interesting and finely balanced botanicals.  27 in fact.

“Most retail gins have four, five, or maybe up to eight botanicals. I get to this balance of 27 botanical flavors because of my background.”

Harrison’s background is as a chef, and it is his experience with ingredients that has provided him with the knowledge needed to produce botanical gin.

“For me, distilling gin is about the experience, the intrigue, interest and balance of the finished spirit, not the process of producing a product for a given price,” he explains. “This started as a hobby, but then I combined my love of gin with my passion for creating flavorful food in my restaurant.”

It took Harrison more than two years to “perfect” his first gin.

“I just couldn’t find the right combination of botanicals for my pallet. I had to search far and wide, and traveled all over the world to find exotic, unique herbs and spices until I got it perfect.”

The craft gin market is already fairly crowded, with more than 300 companies in the U.K. Despite this, Harrison’s company has won a number of awards, including the International Wines and Spirits award for their rhubarb and custard flavor gin.

“My favorite gin though, is Timur. It’s a world-first,” Harrison says. “No other gin company on the planet makes a gin with timur, which is a rare spice from the Himalayas. For my friends, I serve this with a little plain Indian Tonic and slices of sweet orange.”

“Although,” he adds, “I enjoy it neat.”

Harrison says the company’s biggest differentiator is its permanent gin schools and mobile gin schools.

“Not only do we take customers through an interesting journey on the history of gin making and exploring their pallets with various Nelsons Gins but customers also get to create, and take home, their very own uniquely created Gin. We then retain their recipe and one of our master distillers can recreate for the customer anytime in the future.”

More than 68% of European consumers expect companies to implement planet-protecting programs. Harrison didn’t want his company to lag behind, and so introduced a reduce, reuse and recycle policy. Customers can either return their bottle, which is made of ceramics, to receive a 10% discount on their next purchase or repurpose it in the home as a vessel for flowers/bubble bath.

The distillery also has its own freshwater source, with the reed bed the water used in the gin is drawn from acting as a natural filtration system.

Not only is Nelson’s Distillery an eco-conscious company, but it works with charities too.

“We have produced gin for local non-profits such as The Donna Louise, and Glitz and Glamour, to help with their fundraising efforts,” says Harrison.

The chef-turned-distiller isn’t stopping anytime soon, either. The company is launching a distillery school in Manila in early 2020, which Harrison says is the first of its kind in ages, and plans to expand to Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE later next year.

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With the beer industry making headway in the eco-friendly sector it seemed only a matter of time before the spirit market followed suit.

And one distillery in particular is making waves with its commitment to the environment. Nelson’s Distillery, which is located in Staffordshire, recently won a green impact award for its eco credentials, which 50-year-old founder Neil Harrison says is one of the company’s most important priorities.

“The distillery sits on a fully sustainable site—Grindley Business Village—which is about to go completely off grid next year. We’re powered by a wind turbine and an anaerobic digester, which also sends power back to the grid when we’re not using it. So we help to reduce greenhouse gases.”

Harrison launched his company in 2015, after spending three years secretly developing flavors for his version of London Dry Gin.

“Whilst I cannot claim this gin to be unique, it is, very definitely, unusual,” he says. “Unusual because it is brimming with interesting and finely balanced botanicals.  27 in fact.

“Most retail gins have four, five, or maybe up to eight botanicals. I get to this balance of 27 botanical flavors because of my background.”

Harrison’s background is as a chef, and it is his experience with ingredients that has provided him with the knowledge needed to produce botanical gin.

“For me, distilling gin is about the experience, the intrigue, interest and balance of the finished spirit, not the process of producing a product for a given price,” he explains. “This started as a hobby, but then I combined my love of gin with my passion for creating flavorful food in my restaurant.”

It took Harrison more than two years to “perfect” his first gin.

“I just couldn’t find the right combination of botanicals for my pallet. I had to search far and wide, and traveled all over the world to find exotic, unique herbs and spices until I got it perfect.”

The craft gin market is already fairly crowded, with more than 300 companies in the U.K. Despite this, Harrison’s company has won a number of awards, including the International Wines and Spirits award for their rhubarb and custard flavor gin.

“My favorite gin though, is Timur. It’s a world-first,” Harrison says. “No other gin company on the planet makes a gin with timur, which is a rare spice from the Himalayas. For my friends, I serve this with a little plain Indian Tonic and slices of sweet orange.”

“Although,” he adds, “I enjoy it neat.”

Harrison says the company’s biggest differentiator is its permanent gin schools and mobile gin schools.

“Not only do we take customers through an interesting journey on the history of gin making and exploring their pallets with various Nelsons Gins but customers also get to create, and take home, their very own uniquely created Gin. We then retain their recipe and one of our master distillers can recreate for the customer anytime in the future.”

More than 68% of European consumers expect companies to implement planet-protecting programs. Harrison didn’t want his company to lag behind, and so introduced a reduce, reuse and recycle policy. Customers can either return their bottle, which is made of ceramics, to receive a 10% discount on their next purchase or repurpose it in the home as a vessel for flowers/bubble bath.

The distillery also has its own freshwater source, with the reed bed the water used in the gin is drawn from acting as a natural filtration system.

Not only is Nelson’s Distillery an eco-conscious company, but it works with charities too.

“We have produced gin for local non-profits such as The Donna Louise, and Glitz and Glamour, to help with their fundraising efforts,” says Harrison.

The chef-turned-distiller isn’t stopping anytime soon, either. The company is launching a distillery school in Manila in early 2020, which Harrison says is the first of its kind in ages, and plans to expand to Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE later next year.

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