The first and only distilling license has been granted to the Isle of Wight Distillery, based at Rosemary Vineyard. The distillery uses local ingredients from locations such as the southern coast and even handpicks a number of seeds for its spirits.
The idea for the Isle of Wight Distillery followed years of conversations between founders Conrad Gauntlett and Xavier Baker. With a combined 30 year’s of vine growing & wine production and 20 year’s brewing experience respectively, both have a keen interest in alcohol production. Distilling was really the next logical step. Whilst brewing in Ireland, Xavier took an interest in the arts of distilling poitín and gaining a better understanding of Irish whisky production. He then went on to travel to Scotland to learn their methods. After this the Isle of Wight Distillery was born.
The Isle of Wight Distillery’s first release was its Isle of Wight gin, Wight Mermaids Gin. This was followed by Rock Sea Vodka. This is he first and only vodka brewed and distilled on the Isle of Wight. The team have also recently launched a new range of Isle of Wight Apple Pie Moonshine.
For its latest spirit Isle of Wight Distillery has partnered with The National Museum of the Royal Navy to produce a new Navy Strength gin named after HMS Victory, the Navy’s most illustrious warship. There will also be a special limited edition gin that is both Navy Strength and aged in oak barrels to recreate the taste and style of gin drunk at sea by Naval officers who served at the Battle of Trafalgar.
The Isle of Wight Distillery has commissioned four bespoke barrels that will incorporate pieces of oak from HMS Victory itself. They will be created by England’s only Master Cooper, Alastair Simms who will be working closely with the National Museum of the Royal Navy conservation team in Portsmouth. A percentage of the sales will go to support the ongoing restoration of the Victory.
HMS Victory Gin is already winning plaudits for the Isle of Wight Distillery picking up three awards from the American Distillery Institute including Best International Navy Strength Gin.
Isle of Wight Distillery recently finished in 10th place in 2017’s #HotCraftSpirits competition.