A small independent Warwickshire craft gin producer has won major awards for two of its premium gins in the International Wine & Spirit (IWSC) 2021 competition.
The Warwickshire Gin Company in Leamington Spa, which launched in 2018, shines a light on the lesser-known history and heritage of the county’s towns through its five handcrafted small-batch gins – with tasting notes to match.
The company’s Kingmaker Dry Gin, and Pelota Dry Gin each won an IWSC silver for Gin and Tonic and a bronze for Contemporary Gin – despite being the first produced at the firm’s distillery in the town.
David Blick, founder of Warwickshire Gin Company, who previously worked in retail and logistics, said: “I was very chuffed about our success in the IWSC tasting awards being new to the industry. Pelota was my first creation. These were the first two gins produced at our distillery in Leamington Spa, as we started off using a third-party distiller near Cardigan, in South Wales.
“When I first came up with the idea for our very first gin, I did not know the first thing about making gin. On holiday in Tenby, I got talking to the owner of Tenby Gin who has a shop there and asked him how he made it. He told me he used a third-party distiller – that’s when the penny dropped! We had a steep learning curve and learnt the craft from a multi-award-winning distiller.
“If restrictions lift after July 19, we will be looking at running some gin tastings after the festival season this autumn at our distillery, which we have also opened up as a shop.
“Last week we were at Pub in the Park Warwick which was fantastic, but many summer food festivals we were due to attend have been cancelled due to Covid concerns, including Coventry’s Big Foodie festival weekend, now rescheduled to 2022.”
Founded in 2018, Warwickshire Gin Company’s copper pot distilled, sulphate-free gins also include Leamington on Parade, inspired by the true story of three elephants brought over from Sri Lanka to Leamington Spa by circus elephant trainer Sam Lockhart in the 1880s flavoured with Far Eastern spices and The Philosopher’s Daughter – a nod to Kathrine Dee, whose father John was a noted philosopher and alchemist for Elizabeth I.
A fifth new gin linked to Coventry’s history is set to be officially launched this summer.
During the start of the pandemic the company also diversified and produced hand sanitiser for Warwick District Council to help with nationwide shortages.
They produced 4,000 litres of sanitiser on the first day of production and it was made available to care homes and key workers on the frontline in the early days of lockdown.
But with restrictions eased, David is back on the gin.
They are available in two bottle options and various gift sets including one with a Warwickshire Gin Company gin goblet and six handmade vegan, gluten-free chocolates by Norma Jean (Warwick) made with their gin.
Kingmaker takes its name from 15th century War of the Roses military hero Warwick the Kingmaker otherwise known as Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick. It has been made using fruits of the forest growing freely in English hedgerows when he was in power, including blackberries, elderberries, raspberries and raspberry with frankincense added creating a unique flavour.
Judges described it has having ‘soft blood orange notes with woody undertones. Pepper and earthy notes on the finish’.
Pelota Dry Gin was inspired by the world’s first Lawn Tennis Club launched in Leamington Spa by a Spanish merchant Juan Augurio and his friend Major Harry Gem in 1872. Pelota being the name of the Basque court game from which it originated and to compliment this Pelota Dry Gin has Mediterranean citrus tones.