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City of London Distillery

In the aftermath of the Gin Craze, very few gin distilleries survived in London, and for nearly 200 years there wasn’t a single gin distillery in the City itself. That was until the City of London Distillery opened on 20th December 2012, inside Jonathan Clark’s cocktail bar in Bride Lane. Clark was determined to bring gin distillation back to the capital, but having never been a distiller himself, he enlisted the help of Jamie Baxter to help install the stills, get the site running and to create the gin’s profile. A knowledgeable and talented master distiller involved in the early days of Chase Distillery, Baxter soon left after he felt his job was done. However, he wasn’t the last master distiller Clark reached out to. The City of London Distillery has benefited from the teachings of Desmond Payne of Beefeater, Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillery and Tom Nichol of Tanqueray (see City of London Christopher Wren Gin) who mentored Clark as he would take each of them out for lunch regularly and ask their opinion of his latest effort. The process Clark eventually settled on required distilling his gins in three copper pot stills affectionately called ‘The Three Girls’. Modern versions of the Caterhead still, the distillery started with two, named ‘Clarissa’ and ‘Jennifer’ (although they were often referred to as the two fat ladies), before the third, much bigger still, ‘Elizabeth*’, arrived in 2017, increasing the distillery's capacity from 240 litres to to 450 litres. The three stills also serve as a spectacular display for those who enter the cocktail bar, framed in a glass case. This not only provides a memorable setting to enjoy a G&T in, but also gives consumers the chance to witness the process of gin being made and educate themselves on the production and craft of distillation. The aesthetic of the brand is very much influenced by the City of London, as well it might, and each bottle is shaped in reference to St Paul’s Cathedral. This choice is savvy because its effect is twofold: first, it reinforces the provenance that COLD take so much pride in, and second, it makes the gin stand apart on supermarket shelves and back bars. After what some had deemed a slow and perhaps controversial start,The City of London Distillery has begun to really enter its stride. 2017 has proved to be a huge year for the brand, not only did it agree a joint-venture with Halewood International Ltd to expand distribution into bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels and retail outlets across the UK and abroad, it also had a hugely successful award season. The aforementioned Christopher Wren Gin earned the coveted Gold Award at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, the Sloe Gin won a Gin Masters Award (better than gold) at the Spirits Business Competition and the distillery picked up an incredible three Double-Gold Awards at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition – for its London Dry, Square Mile and Old Tom gins. *Named after the Queen, who turned 90 the year C.O.L.D acquired her**. **Her meaning the still, not Her Majesty.

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