Making gin in Wales, in West Wales – is exciting. It’s different. Coming back to West Wales to our beloved Ceredigion has meant huge opportunities that we’ve embraced. In doing so, we’ve been able to take a new approach to the gin distillery. We’re not the only distillery making gin in Wales and we’re certainly not the only gin distillery in the UK offering gin experiences, but our maverick approach to gin distillation and to the ‘gin making experience’ – less gin school and more gin lab, dares to break the mould.
There’s a tendency to think of us out here as being a little bit behind the times – living a slower pace of life away from the beating heart of the Metropolis (wherever that might be). But living in a community respects the rhythms of the seasons and offers more than a passing nod to the weather, away from the confines of what ‘the right thing to do’ is, has given us the freedom to do things ‘our way’.
Moving away from the traditional distillery experience
Think ‘gin making experience’ and what springs to mind? We appreciate and honour the history of gin – its chequered past from mother’s ruin to the glamorous gin palaces of Victorian England to its status today as drink of the moment – but we’re not constrained by it. If you want to know more, you can read about it all here – but we’re not going to take up your valuable time sending you back to the classroom. What we’re about is the process of understanding flavour, of selecting botanicals, and of the distillation cycle – and this is what we focus on. When you visit us you’ll immerse yourself in flavour and mouthfeel, weighing up smooth against peppery, sweet against savoury, determining the balance that’s right for you.
If it sounds daunting, as if you might end up with too much responsibility for what goes in your gin, that’s not our aim. We simply want you to be as enthused as we are by the possibilities that gin offers. Our distillers understand how to combine different elements to produce the bottle you envisage, and they will help and guide you as you select from our library of botanicals: from Anjelica to Cardamom; Oris to Pepper. We work from a baseline understanding of the gins you already enjoy – whether you prefer something that’s more classic juniper-forward gin, or something more floral or spicy. From there we work together to create your formula to add to the still and get on with the business of distilling.
Gin – the classic instant gratification
One of the really excellent things about gin is that, with a formula locked down, the time it takes from entrusting the botanicals and grain spirit to the still to bottling is minimal. Using our custom copper mini stills, distilling a bottle’s worth of gin takes around 40 minutes, testing regularly to check flavour as the alcohol becomes infused with flavour. Get to grips with the refractometer to measure the volume of alcohol and note which flavours are coming through at that point. Take the cut, and finally, blend to nail your gin. Ideally, we suggest leaving your bottle be for 2 to 3 weeks before enjoying with your favourite tonic – but there’s certainly not the lengthy laying down time of wine, or the sitting in barrels required for a fantastic whiskey.
It’s a gin experience that focuses not on history or culture but purely and simply on the gin.
Zephyr Edits – the here, the now and the next of making gin in Wales
We’re here, spearheading a movement away from the fusty, traditional distillery experience, towards something that’s all about the flavour of gin, the integrity of the spirit, about the here, the now, and the next.
The ‘next’ for us is our move to new premises – an iconic building in a prime spot on the coast road that joins Aberystwyth and Haverford West, Aberporth with Newcastle and Emlyn and beyond to Carmarthen perfect for making gin in Wales. Already, the building is buzzing with the distillery vibe as we breathe new life into tired bricks and mortar and revitalise the grounds. We have big plans for our new distillery space – it will host our still room where the magic happens, and our gin lab. We have custom copper pot mini stills, the first of their kind in the UK, waiting to meld your chosen botanicals with neutral grain spirit and create your unique gin. It will provide a community space for meeting up and events, a canvas for artists and printmakers to display their work, somewhere to step out of life and to relax.
We want you to be part of our movement – and we’re launching some very special packages which will offer perks that money can’t buy in return for your support. Read more about our Zephyr Edits. and sign up to our mailing list to be amongst the first to get on board!