Drink Warehouse UK Blogs

Published on November 30, 2022

A historic legacy. 

In 1774, George Bishop, keen business man and distinguished distiller from Maidstone, travelled to Holland to learn the art of distilling Schiedam gin. When returning to England, he set out to build an industry in his hometown and produce to premium spirit to rival all others. However, at the same time, William of Orange had claimed the throne with a distain for Catholic France, setting out to get rid of French brandy, the preferred spirit of the time, by raising the taxes and favoured gin, abolishing all taxes and licensing restrictions on the spirit so anyone in England could make it.

Appalled by this law, Bishop sought to change it and personally petitioned the government that gin should be made in a controlled environment and made into a quality spirit of the UK hence preventing smuggling. His argument was effective and highly persuasive; so much so that it was declared that Bishop could distil Maidstone Gin and not pay certain duties.

By 1785 Bishop had built a new distillery that dominated the Maidstone skyline and by 1808 the distillery had gained significant notoriety and was renown for producing one of the finest gins in all of Europe.

Today, the Maidstone Distillery has been restored and lives in the heart of the town with a promise of educating the local community about the rich history and legacy that went into the building built over 200 years ago. Whilst engaging the community with the history, Maidstone Distillery have brought the modern world to the process with an exciting outlook on the future; especially in their sustainability and carbon impact. Maidstone Distillery runs on 100% green energy, package all their spirits with Flexi-Hex plastic-free packaging and have launched a bottle refill service for customers. They have also forged an amazing partnership with the UK conservation charity Plantlife and created a gin distilled from wild foraged botanicals from their nature reserve in Kent. Now, 2.5% of sales of Ranscombe Wild Small Batch Gin goes to Plantlife to help continue their amazing work.

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About the author

Chloe Lewis

Chloe looks after all copywriting and proof-reading for Drink Warehouse UK, working with the Marketing team to deliver educational content to all our customers. She has spent many years in the hospitality sector, moving from behind the bar to now helping venues to stock their own. You can find more from Chloe about beer, cider, spirits, wine, non-alcoholic, soft drinks and RTDs all over our blogs, website, social media and Set The Bar magazine. 

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