The Emergence of Welsh Gin

There is a perceptible renaissance in the popularity of gin

Hogarth’s mid-1700s depiction of gin-fuelled debauchery, squalor and deprivation tarnished this cocktail favourite’s reputation in the UK. Yet perceptions have changed and a new audience of younger drinkers are discovering the appeal of craft gins and belying erstwhile images of the spirit as the natural tipple of the upper middle classes.

With approximately 1.6Bn Gin & Tonics served in the UK last year, year-on-year increases in gin prices have resulted in increases to the consumer prices index.

Since 2014, 56 new distilleries have been established in the UK and, excitingly, more are emerging all the time. New spirits are being distilled in small batches to new recipes with ever-complex combinations of botanicals adding distinctive and imaginative characteristics to each new blend.

It is no surprise that Wales, with a distilling history that can be traced back to 4AD, is embarked upon its own voyage of gin discovery

At The High Street Delicatessen, we are happy to explore the Welsh gin scene, from established distillers Penderyn and (more recently) Da Mhile to cool new brands such as Eccentric Gin and Snowdonia Distillery

Recent arrival, Yellow Label Forager’s Gin from the Snowdonia Distillery is proving to be particularly popular with discerning gin fans calling into The High Street Delicatessen. So, what’s the story behind this new spirit of Snowdonia?

Well, you have to wait a while in North Wales for a gin distillery to appear. One hundred and fifteen years to be precise. But when it does, it adds a distinctively North Wales flavour to the menu of Welsh offerings emerging from the craft gin renaissance.

The Snowdonia Distillery has a very simple, heartfelt aim, to create:

… a beautiful artisan distillery that will handcraft tiny batches of incredible gin. A gin that is authentic to Snowdonia …

Whenever we have met Chris Marshall, the founder of the Snowdonia Distillery, his passion has been all too evident. Attention to detail is as infused within the brand as the botanicals which add their character to the first Limited Release run of his gin.

img_5691The elegantly designed bottle discreetly signposts the mountainous legacy of the Snowdonia hills, whilst the taste of the gin is an alchemy of locally-sourced botanicals.

This recently photographed image of the Forager Gin hints, through the clever use of colour, to the infusion of gorse which lends a unique flavour within the small but carefully-selected range of botanicals

And, of course, juniper lies at the heart of the blend. Snowdonia Distillery is working with conservationists to try and redress the challenges this ‘wonderful tree’ is facing in the UK, which forces many distilleries to seek out one of between 50 and 67 varieties which grow throughout the world.

Finding a way to successfully grow the tree within the Snowdonia National Park will further reinforce the connections with the local area that make this new gin so special.

As Snowdonia Distillery points out: