Puddingstone Distillery and shop

PUDDINGSTONE DISTILLERY JOURNEY SO FAR...

Whilst the doors to our distillery opened in November 2016, the journey to reach this point started way back in January 2014 with a wrist operation, the purchase of two great books and a Eureka moment that sadly did not involve a bathtub full of gin. Since then we’ve picked up awards, been on the TV, presented at gin seminars and more. Here are some snippets of our journey so far.

2014

Flavour thesearus and Diffords Guide to Gin

January
Kate purchased two books which became the catalyst for setting up a gin distillery.

Sitting round the campfire

February
We decided on the name Campfire Gin – named after the fact we’ve enjoyed our best gin and tonics sitting round campfires.

Edinburgh distilleries and Durham Distillery road trip

September
As part of our research we took a road trip to visit distilleries in Edinburgh and Durham.

Hertfordshire puddingstone

October
We finalised our distillery name and logo. Puddingstone is a rare rock formation found in Hertfordshire. Historically used in churches to ward off evil spirits, we like to think it keeps the good ‘spirits’ in the distillery!

2015

Ada 5 litre still

February
We received our first HMRC licence to distil at home on Jessie May and Ada, our 1 litre and 5 litre test stills. Officially the first licence to be issued in Hertfordshire.

Dacorum's Den Winners 2015

June
Dacorum’s Den – we made a presentation to five influential local business people, one of whom was the Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP, to obtain a £1000 grant. We put the grant towards our crowdfunding video.

Crowdfunding video at Ashridge Business School

September
Filming took place for our crowdfunding video in the grounds of Ashridge Business School.

Raising awareness of our crowdfunding campaign

November
Our crowdfunding campaign launched on 1 November and ran for 56 days. Each day we either attended an event to raise awareness of our campaign or pushed out messages via our social media channels.

Campfire Gin ginometer

December
Hurrah! We exceeded our campaign target! This was only a portion of our start-up funds, the rest of which came from our savings and some family assistance.

2016

Artisan food producer unit building work

January
Throughout 2015 we hunted for a suitable distillery premises. A chance encounter with local farmer and producer of Chiltern Rapeseed Oil, Simon Mead, led to the build of a new structure on the P E Mead & Sons Farm Shop site in Wilstone, Tring. Building worked commenced one cold January day.

Isabella and Amelia Puddingstone Distillery stills

April
We chose six female adventurers and asked our Campfire crowd to vote for their favourite two, after whom our stills would be named. Amelia Earhart and Isabella Lucy Bird were the winners. Pop into the distillery shop to read more about these two inspirational women.

History of the Campfire chevron

July
Our first run of bottle labels was printed, embossed and foiled. The design features a chevron pattern which began life as a sketch of water, trees, mountains and birds, all created using a chevron shape.

Constructing the distillery interior

September
Throughout August, September and October we stained, cut, drilled and constructed the distillery interior, predominantly by ourselves with a little help from an electrician. We also worked on upscaling our test London Dry recipe to our 50 litre still, Isabella.

Puddingstone Distillery opening night

November
Official launch night on the 11 November! Initially just supposed to be an evening for our crowdfunders to collect their Campfire London Dry gin rewards, we opened the doors on the same night as the P E Meads Christmas food festival. We think about 400 people came through the doors that night purchasing all our gin set aside for the official launch the following day! An early start was required the next morning to bottle Campfire Gin resting in containers!

2017

Campfire Cask Aged launch

March
The launch of our 2nd product – Campfire Cask Aged. Read more

ADI bronze award for Campfire London Dry

April
Five months after its official launch Campfire London Dry Gin won a bronze award at the American Distillers Institute Craft Distillers Awards and was named as The Independent Online Spirit of the Month.

Launch of Campfire Navy Strength Gin

April
The 3rd in our core range of Campfire Gins was launched – this time a juniper forward Navy Strength. Read more

Dine at the distillery

June
To celebrate World Gin Day we held two Dine at the Distillery evenings with St Albans based caterer, Chappell & Caldwell. With a menu based around our gin botanicals we created gin cocktails to pair with seven courses.

Himalayan balsam picking

July
The first Himalayan balsam pulling took place, collecting the flowers for our Campfire Special Edition No 1, our 'pink for a purpose' gin. £2 from the sale of each bottle goes towards the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust. Read more

Hertfordshire Life Food & Drink Awards Best Newcomer Winner 2017

July
We were delighted to win the Best Newcomer Award at the Hertfordshire Life Food & Drink Awards.

Campfire Navy Strength wins gin of the year navy category

October
Campfire Navy Strength Gin beat off strong competition to win Navy Gin of the Year at Craft Distillers Expo.

Puddingstone Pudding Gin launch

November
To celebrate our first birthday we launched our Winter seasonal – Puddingstone Pudding Gin or PUD PUD for short. Made by distilling juniper, sweet fresh orange peel and Christmas pudding! The bottle label was copper and gold foiled on cherry wood veneer.

Cocktail demo samples

December
We held the first of our free distillery cocktail sessions which now run every couple of months.

2018

Difford's Guide Award

February
It came full circle, from first purchasing a Difford’s Guide to Gin to finally submitting our three core Campfire Gins to Simon Difford to taste and review. 4.5 stars for our London Dry, 5 each for our Cask Aged and Navy Strength.

Ben in space suit

April
After cancelling the event twice previously due to weather, we finally held our stargazing and cocktails evening.

Gin Guild installation

May
With juniper berries in hand we both pledged allegiance and were officially accepted into the Gin Guild. We now wear our silver juniper sprigs with pride!

Campfire Gin at Junipalooza 2018

June
Our first Junipalooza – over 70 distilleries for attendees to visit over two days at London’s Tobacco Dock. On the same weekend we launched PUD PUD Aged, a 50 bottle limited edition gin which sold out in three days!

Campfire Gin wins at IWSC

July
Way back at the start of the year we submitted our core Campfire Gins to IWSC for their annual awards. We were over the moon when the results came out. Silvers for Campfire London Dry and Cask Aged and Silver Outstanding for Campfire Navy Strength.

Puddingstone Distillery wins Amazon Rural Business Award – Best Drink Producer 2018 East region

October
Kate and her sister collected the award for Best Rural Drink Business and runner up award for Newcomer at the Amazon Rural Business Awards East region. We head off to the national finals in February 2019.

2019

Campfire London Dry Gin wins World's Best Martini Challenge 2019

January
The win we are most proud of! Campfire London Dry Gin wins World's Best Martini Challenge 2019 for our 10:1 ratio of Campfire London Dry Gin to Dolin Dry Vermouth recipe.

Campfire Old Tom Gin launched

April
Campfire Old Tom Gin is launched to complete the line up of four heritage gin styles in the Campfire Gin range. Botanicals were chosen based on what would have been available to a rural distiller during the 18th century.

Gill Meller dinner at Peterley Manor Farm

May
Chef, author and food writer Gill Meller headed up the kitchen for a pop up dining event at Peterley Manor Farm. We were invited to serve the arrival cocktail – our Cherry & Balsamic Shrub.

Puddingstone Distillery pop up bar at The Grove

July
The Grove Hotel and Golf Resort invited us to set up a pop up bar outside The Stables Bar and Restaurant. Along with Campfire Gin & Tonics they served a cocktail we devised for the event – The Fire Extinguisher.

Ben presents at Craft Distillers Expo

September
Ben was invited to speak at Craft Distillers Expo with a presentation entitled 'Can you have too much botanicals in the still?'

Campfire Old Tom Gin wins Gin of the Year at Craft Distillers Old Tom category

September
Even though Ben is a judge for the Craft Distilling Expo awards his comments and score are removed if we have entered one of the categories. These awards are open to all new gins launched during the year. We were delighted to win the Old Tom category with our Campfire Old Tom Gin.

1594 Gin for The Box Moor Trust

October
The first gin to be made with Hertfordshire juniper. The Box Moor Trust have been cultivating juniper on their land and harvested some of their berries for us to use in a special gin with £2 from the sale of every bottle going to the Trust.

PUD PUD Cask Aged 10 out of 10 The Telegraph

December
The Telegraph newspaper gave our PUD PUD Cask Aged Gin 10 out of 10 in their Christmas Gins review. The only gin to be awarded 10 out of 10.

2020

Online events

May
Well, lots did happen between January and May but it mostly involved COVID-19 lockdown activities so we won't dwell on these! We did move events online and our first event was a martini cocktail tasting!

Domestique Gin in glass bottle launched 2020

June
Due to the popularity of Domestique London Dry Gin in our limited edition bidons we decided to launch it as a core gin in glass bottles. The label features colours and patterns from cycle jerseys.

IWCS Silver 2020

July
We entered Campfire London Dry, Cask Aged and Navy Strength Gins into the International Spirits Awards 2020 and they all won well deserved silver medals.

George Street Canteen Honey Gin 2020

September
A collaboration between ourselves and George Street Canteen saw the launch of Honey Gin using honey from the hives at the canteen. Ben has distilled the honey so the gin has floral notes from the flowers visited by the bees.

Gin gift set launch 2020

December
We launched our new gin gift set which contains a full sized bottle of gin and two branded gin glasses. Launched just in time for Christmas gin gifting!

2021

Chiltern MS Centre fundraiser 2021

February
With events still running online we hosted another martini night but this time raising much needed funds for the Chiltern MS Centre. Over two events we raised £605. Thank you to everyone who attended!

London Spirits Competition 2021

April
We were over the moon to win two gold medals (Campfire London Dry & Navy Gins) and two silver medals (Campfire Cask Aged & Old Tom Gins) at the London Spirits Competition.

Distillery of the Year 2021

April
Like the London Spirits Competition, The Gin Guide Awards attract entries from all over the world. Campfire Cask Aged, Navy and Old Tom Gins were winners in their categories and Campfire London Dry was awarded a highly commended. Amazingly we also won the overall award of Distillery of the Year!

Campfire Navy Cask Gin launched 2021

May
Campfire Navy Cask Gin was released – a very small and limited edition batch of just 67 bottles. Rested in port and bourbon casks this expression didn't last long on the distillery shelves!

Ultrasonic Gin launched 2021

June
A year late but worth the wait! Our latest gin collaboration with Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust – Ultrasonic Gin. Inspired by the flight of bats through the British countryside and the botanicals they encounter including barley, elderflower and Bramley apple. Uniquely we use ultrasound and distillation to extract oils from the botanicals.

IWSC Bronze 2021

July
We only entered Campfire Navy Strength Gin into IWSC this year and given the new structure of the points awarded and the high number of gins who entered we were delighted to receive a bronze medal.

Puddingstone Distillery Gin Glass launched 2021

August
Our new Puddingstone Distillery gin glasses arrived! Decorated with our trees and sea graphic in a gold print.

Campfire Gin 70cl bottle launch

September
Campfire Gin re-launched in NEW 70cl bottles. 40% more gin for everyone to enjoy!

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