Bruce Midgley – Brentingby Gin
The brainchild of Bruce Midgely, born in South Africa and currently living in Melton Mowbray, Brentingby Gin has had a fast first few months since its launch last year. With three gins now in the range and a distillery in a full state of flux growing each and every day – we caught up with the man behind it all.
Hi Bruce – What triggered you to take the plunge and start distilling?
Bruce Midgely: I love working with my hands and creating things, and I also love a G&T. I was offshore (I used to work in the oil and gas industry) when a colleague planted the seed in my head about making gin, and that was it I was off on a mission to research as much as I could. I’m very much of the mind that if you’re going to do something, you’ve got to do it properly, which led me to search for the best in the business to help me on my journey and make sure that I made not only a gin that I’d like to drink myself, but that other people would love too.
How long did it take to create Brentingby Gin and when did it launch?
I spent 18 months learning and training whilst building our distillery. There was actually quite a lot that I could bring from the oil and gas industry at this stage, especially in terms of the practical build. Securing help and guidance from Tom Nichol was a blessing he has forgotten more than I could ever know about distilling. Over many days and nights, under his watchful eye, we brought Brentingby Gin to life!
If there was just one thing above all else that you want everyone to know about your gins, what would it be?
Simply put, Brentingby Gin creates Gin. What I mean by that, is that our gins are very much a traditional style of gin – always juniper dominant – and whilst our three recipes have distinct personalities, they share the same heart, recognisable as part of the same family. They were designed to be versatile and made for mixing.
Speed round time – quick fire Q&A quartet for you…
Negroni or Martini?
Tough, at present I’m loving Negroni’s, but one of the first cocktails I had with Brentingby Gin was a Martini with a grapefruit twist and it was sublime.
Best advice to make the perfect G&T?
Drink it the way you enjoy it best, make it a double, and you can never have too much ice.
What’s the best part of distilling?
To be able to work and learn from Tom Nichol, and the fact that I’ve picked up a brilliant new skill and craft.
What’s the worst part of distilling?
When things don’t go perfectly, or when I worry they haven’t gone perfectly! The first few times I distilled I was very glad to have Tom and his nose to confirm I had done a good job!
And we’re back! Pressure moment is off and time to relax those shoulders. How big is a batch for you and how often are you distilling at the moment?
A batch is about 470 bottles per distillation and we currently distil every other day
What makes your gin stand out in today’s crowded market?
It’s a premium gin with sustainable roots that’s reassuringly junipery and wonderfully balanced.
What prompted the new Black batch addition to the range and why meadowsweet?
The Black edition was created to bring a bit of spice to our range. The combination of botanicals works very well, the meadowsweet in particular was chosen as it grows wild in our hedgerows. We always look to what’s local, and what makes sense to our story. There also aren’t many gins that contain it, which is always nice as it means you can introduce consumers to a new botanical, and once we started to work with it in the stills, we knew we were onto a winner, it brings a lovely aspect to the finished gin.
No-one has a crystal ball but now you are in the thick of it, where do you see the Gin category going in the next?
I think it will strengthen: the gin industry is versatile and innovative which means that it’s always moving and evolving. I think that’s why you see the continued support from consumers, especially for the smaller more personal and/or local gins. British Gin is doing well in the export markets too, and as the rest of the world becomes part of the gin boom that can only be a good thing for British gins.
What’s the big milestone you are working towards as a brand?
As a brand we wanted to establish ourselves as gin producers capable of making quality gins. I think we’re well on the road to do that, and the support from the wider community has been absolutely amazing. We’d love to work with some other brands across the drinks sector for some interesting collaborations going forwards, I think!
Lastly, what’s the best advice you’ve been given as a new producer, that you could share with any others out there?
I won’t name the various sources; however we have been fortunate to have some great help and advice from across the industry. I guess the Few pieces that have stuck with me more than most though have been:
-Don’t buy what you don’t need
-Be persistent and focus on the plan
-work as hard as you can for as long as you can, and good things will happen
Good advice! See you in at Junipalooza in a few weeks!
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