Kent’s first whisky, science and new products (look out for MoM exclusive…) were all topics of discussion when we visited the wonderful Anno Distillery back in January. Which you can see for yourself. We got it all on film.
I don’t know if you get on with your neighbours, but at MoM Towers, we’re delighted to have Anno Distillery just down the road from us. Among all the hop fields, sandy beaches and medieval castles of Kent are distilleries, many of them quite new and releasing all kinds of tasty booze at break-neck speed. Anno, the county’s first gin distillery in 200 years, has certainly been busy in the last decade creating a range of gins, vodkas and even Kent’s first whisky along the way.
We were invited for a visit to learn about its history, how the founder’s background in science impacts distillation and more. Which we did. But we went one better and filmed our tour so you can enjoy it as well. Particularly useful given many of you won’t have been able to visit any distilleries for the time being.
We begin at the beginning because we’re mavericks like that. Dr. Any Reason joins us to tell us about how he founded the brand in 2011 with Dr Norman Lewis (hence the name: it’s a combination of the first two letters of Andy and Norman). Dr Reason outlines how the brand created its distillery in Marden, where his love of spirits began, what the ambition for Anno Distillers was and even offers us a little glimpse into its future…
While whisky may be produced all over the world now until recently you couldn’t buy a whisky that was produced in the garden of England. In this video, Dr Reason tells us the story behind Kent’s very first whisky, how the brand partnered with Westerham Brewery to create this unique bottling and why it was matured in a medium-charred ex-bourbon cask that had previously held Speyside whisky.
As a former PhD research and development chemist, Dr Reason (by the way, amazing name. Sounds like an X-Men character) already had a keen understanding of the process of distillation. In this interview, he outlines how this background in science gave the brand an edge to make delicious booze, what kind of profile of gin he wanted to create and more. Bonus fact: The logo, a registered trademark, demonstrates this influence as it was found in a 17th-century German text, and was recorded as the alchemical sign for distillation.
Assistant distiller Jake Sedge joins us now to give us a guided tour of the distillery and walk us through the production process. We meet Patience, Anno’s 300-litre copper pot still (Anno has come a long since experimenting in Dr Reason’s kitchen with a 2 litre still) which got its name thanks to an arduous 18-month wait for a licence. Sedge then explains how each set of botanicals are distilled in order for the brand to make its award-winning gin.
Sedge returns to underline the importance of water in distillation and how Anno filters its ultra-pure water in-house and then introduces us to Defiance, a smaller still the brand has on-site to conduct experiments with. Currently, Anno is looking to create its first rum. Is that a Master of Malt exclusive?! I think it is. There’s even talk of brandy. How very exciting.
Fancy blending you own gin and taking home a personalised bottle? Our good friend Jake Sedge is back again to talk us through the Marden distillery’s blending experience. He offers his expert advice, presents the many flavour options available to you and makes his own tasty example (which changed colour when he added tonic. Neat.). Did you know that you get to make your own unique label and keep a record of your recipe in the blending notebook so you can reorder the blend in future, direct from the distillery? Awesome.
Finally, we taste the Anno range with Anno sales and marketing director Kim Reason. If you’re thinking of picking up a bottle of its Kent Dry and 60² gins or a flavoured expression like its Orange and Honey Gin, B3rry Pink Gin or Elderflower Vodka then you’ll want to watch this. Best of luck picking one. They’re all very tasty.