Take a sip of Northumberland as a world-class spirit...
Our ‘Meet the Maker’ blogs are a series of blog posts created with the purpose of highlighting our lovely suppliers. With their help, we’re able to bring you an insight into how they create, produce and promote their products, as well as how they even got into the market in the first place!
This week we’re spotlighting a world-class brand of botanical gin and vodka. Hepple Spirits creates award-winning alcoholic beverages, all while residing within Northumberland National Park. Take a look at the blog below for a little bit of insight into how their beloved drinks are made…
Can you tell us what you make?
I make all of the Hepple Spirits range, with our award-winning Hepple gin being at the centre of everything we do.
Where is your business based?
We are based just inside the Northumberland National Park, 8 miles West of Rothbury and 25 miles as the crow flies from the Sill.
What inspired you to become an artisan producer?
There is a lot of joy and satisfaction in taking raw materials and making them into something greater. A lot of this satisfaction would be lost, for me, if it were done in an industrial way and on an industrial site. I love the small batch nature; it gives me a lot of control over the finished liquid.
Can you describe how you started the business?
I did a Chemical Engineering degree and realised it wasn’t for me, so I focused on the one area of it I liked, distillation. This led me to do a port graduate degree in brewing and distilling which in turn led to an internship at Sipsmith distillery where I stayed for 5 years!
Can you describe your creative process when developing new products?
New products are usually a collaboration amongst the founders, especially Val Warner, who is a genius forager and understands how flavours combine in the kitchen and Nick Strangeway who is one time world mixologist of the year, who understands how flavours combine in cocktails and spirits. We are always distilling new botanicals and if we find something unique and we love it we will look to develop it into a new product. This is how our Douglas Fir Vodka was crated, we were distilling the needles for the gin and were blown away by the tropical notes coming over, so we had to create a new product to celebrate the amazing botanical.
What sets your products apart from others in the market?
We make our gin in a way no other distillery does, we combine copper pot and vacuum distillation with supercritical extraction to give a gin that is full of flavour, flavours other distilleries can’t capture through copper pot distillation alone. We also harvest our own green juniper and several other botanicals from our estate. We also take the ripe juniper that is harvested alongside the green and germinate the seeds and plant the young juniper back into the ground, so far, we have planted over 500 junipers, and they have been planted by the likes of Monica Berg, who is Drinks International most influential person in the bar industry.
Can you describe your typical day?
The only thing typical about my day is that there are no two days the same, because we are a tiny company not only do I do all the production I also market, sell and deliver some of the orders! This is what I love about being in a small business, it is all consuming!
What are the key values that guide your work?
I think I put myself in the place of the consumer and think “would I like that, would I pay £x for that”, if no them I am doing something wrong.
How do you market and promote your products?
We really use word of mouth, but we are stocked in some of the world’s best bars and restaurants, so we promote that fact through our social media and newsletters.
If you’re interested in trying one of these wonderful spirits or even looking for a last minute Christmas gift, visit The Sill Shop today! Or if you’re looking to find more from Hepple Spirits, visit their social media accounts listed below: