Two local businesses are teaming up to launch a brand new Warwickshire gin school for the county.
The move is an expansion for Pinnock Distillery, which is taking up home at The Castle’s formerly derelict 17th Century tower, which will also be the home for Warwickshire’s newest gin school overlooking the site of the Battle of Edgehill.
Pinnock’s owner Dan Beckett said the collaboration is about more than business.
He said: “This was our local and we’ve been coming here for about eight years. It is the first pub I got the gin into and a very special place to me.
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“It couldn’t be a better fit. We’re going to be making the gin at a location where Charles 1st raised the standard at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642. He was the first ruler to tax alcohol in the 1630s when many people were distilling in their kitchens and regulated it all. The fact that the gin school will be overlooking the very spot where he stood at the top of the hill in the battle is unique.
“When I started out I was quite keen to keep things as traditional as possible and use a recipe from around that period. I found a recipe book that had been republished from 1636 – so based all my botanicals from that period.”
Pinnock Gin has local provenance at its heart. Its original Warwickshire Dry gin’s 11 botanicals include quince from Warwick and honey from Red Road Nursery pick your own farm in Little Kineton. The distillery also sources local ingredients for its Rhubarb and Strawberry and Sloe, Damson and Honey blends and is soon to introduce a new rum recipe which gin schoolers will be among the first to try.
Visitors to The Castle can choose from a one-hour Pinnock Gin Taster Session or three-hour Gin School (for parties of up to 14 people) which will include information on the history and provenance of the product and location, before being guided by Dan through the gin-making process using a range of botanicals. As well as enjoying plenty of gin samples along the way, you’ll get to take home a 70cl bottle of your own unique recipe, which can also be reordered at the distillery on a later date.
Dan added: “It offers the whole experience with the gin school, restaurant and rooms you can stay in so you don’t have to drive into the countryside somewhere and then worry about how you’re going to get back or that someone has to be the designated driver and can’t participate properly.”
The Castle Gin School, which was supported by a grant from Warwickshire County Council, is the latest offering from The Castle at Edgehill, which also boasts an award-winning restaurant, four-star accommodation and wedding licence. The venue is one of four under the ownership of The Free Spirit Pub Company founded by Mark Higgs.
Mark said: “I’m over the moon we have managed to team up with Dan, a genuine Gin boff! I’m super excited about growing both the Castle and Pinnock brands and offering something truly unique and special to our wonderful guests.
“Pinnock Gin is a great product and we’re both on a journey where we can each bring different elements to the project. It’s great to be able to offer something more and add another aspect to the business and this certainly offers something a little bit different. I don’t know of any other pub that offers a nano distillery. This new project will allow us to continue to evolve and grow.”
The Gin School is initially available for Friday and Saturday afternoon sessions but is also available for group or corporate bookings outside these times. For more information and vouchers, which are available to purchase now, visit: https://castleatedgehill.co.uk/ or https://www.pinnockdistillery.com/ginschool