Founded in 2014, the North-East’s first distillery was established by Jon Chadwick in his hometown of Durham, initially launching with its signature Durham Gin. Jon wanted to stay true to gin’s traditional characteristics whilst offering a reflection of the city in which it was being produced.
Gin Guild: You are a relative newcomer to the spirits industry, can you explain your inspiration for becoming a premium gin producer?
Jon Chadwick: I was inspired by the new wave of small batch craft distillers on the US East Coast. We thought that it would be great to bring that kind of product to the UK.
GG: You founded Durham Distillery in your home town – how important are local ingredients to your gins?
Jon Chadwick: When we designed the gin and we chose the botanicals, we wanted to pick some flavours which reminded us of Durham – Elderflower, Angelica, Celery – and then balance them with some spicier flavours – including Pink Pepper Coriander.
We use local ingredients wherever we can, including local spring water.
GG: The North East is probably best known for ale drinking, what’s been the response to your gins in the region?
Jon Chadwick: There is a lot of enthusiasm for Craft Gin. The important thing is to try to educate people about what is and isn’t a real Craft Gin.
GG: What gins do you produce and which is most popular? Do your customers welcome experimenting and trying other versions than the standard dry?
Jon Chadwick: We make a classic London Dry, and a very limited release Cask Aged Gin. We have close links with the Scottish Whisky industry and cask ageing was a logical development for us.
GG: Who is drinking Durham Gin – is your market mainly regional, national or international?
Jon Chadwick: A mix of regional and national. We do a little bit of exporting, but it is early days!
GG: What are your plans for new products or new markets, how do you see your brand evolving?
Jon Chadwick: Our plan is to add a small batch whisky to the range next year when we move into our new distillery.
GG: Your branding is very distinctive – how much do you think this has helped with recognition and sales?
Jon Chadwick: Thanks! We really like it - it is important to have a distinctive brand, but the contents of the bottle have to be top class too! Our logo takes inspiration from the magnificent rose window of Durham Cathedral. When printed on our labels, the “roundel” is distorted, which is then brought back to its full circular state as it is refracted through the gin when peering through the front “window” of the bottle.
GG: What’s your favourite way to enjoy Durham Gin?
Jon Chadwick: I drink a lot of G&Ts as you might guess. I like to vary the tonic and the garnish throughout the year to take advantage of different fruits and flowers as they come into season – for example, under ripe mango in the spring time, borage flowers in the summer.