Jennie Cooper talks to Pat Patel and Julie Heap, Directors of Wicked Wolf Gin in Brendon, about their success, plans, and favourite gin tipple!
When did you set up your business?
We sold our first bottle of Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin in September 2015, after a couple of years of research and development.
What do you produce?
We produce Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin, plus limited-edition gins – Full Moon and Silver Bullet (57%) – neither of which are currently available, but they may make a reappearance next year. In the spring, we’ll be producing a limited-edition Exmoor Gold gin, in conjunction with Exmoor Ales.
Why make gin in in Devon?
After many years of working in London, we wanted to do something together from home. We both love gin, we now live in Devon, so making it was a no-brainer, really.
For how long do you distil your gin?
That’s a really difficult question to answer. To make a traditional London Dry Gin, all botanicals are placed into one still for one big distillation. We distil each of our 11 botanicals separately, then blend the distillates. The aim of this is to produce as smooth and flavourful a gin as possible, as each of the botanicals produce better results at different temperatures. We produce roughly 450 bottles per week.
Any tips for readers who want to set up a food and drink business in Devon?
Talk, research. Talk to anyone doing something similar, as well as your local council and other organisations. You will be amazed how helpful everyone is. Research your market well – make sure there will be demand for your product and that your branding is appropriate.
We are currently having an extension built to house the distillery (it’s currently in our garage/basement). Once that’s finished, our production capacity should increase. With the increased production capacity, we’ll also be able to make more limited-edition gins.
How do you drink yours?
I drink mine with a splash of tonic and pink grapefruit. Pat drinks his neat with ice (this is a bit hardcore for me), or as a long drink in summer with ginger beer. For a more savoury note, it’s great with lime and a sprig of thyme.
Where can we see you out and about?
On 18 January, we’ll be at a special gin event at the Puffing Billy in Exton, and on 26 January, see us at a gin and food pairing night at the Swan in Bampton.
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