Our unique field to bottle process is at the heart of everything we do and producing our spirits from scratch takes a hard-working bunch to pull it off.
We’ve handed the blog over to Ed, one of our distillers to give us a sneaky insight of exactly a spud transforms into the spirit that lands in our glass…
I start the day with a strong coffee and meet with the team – after chat and of course, a little morale booster, the guys who were on the night shift update us and hand over any jobs that need finishing off.
One of the first jobs we’ll do in the morning is to check our potato mash fermentations – we’ll monitor the ABV, pH and gravity to ensure even at the very first steps of the journey, everything is spot on and of the best quality.
If we have any complete fermentations, which takes around 26 hours, we will start a stripping run. Our stripping column is running continuously through the week and it’s only on Sunday where we’ll give it a bit of a rest. Our fermentation is slowly fed into the top of the stripper, heated and at the end, we’ll be left with ‘low wines’ at around 85%.
Fat Betty, our copper pot still, is then filled with the low wines, water is added and then fired up. This is the rectification process where we will make ‘cuts’ of the alcohol – to ensure we get the good stuff. After 14 hours of rectification, we now have our base spirit which, simply put, is just water and potatoes. Nothing else.
To make our Original Potato Vodka, we will blend our base spirit which is at a whopping 96% with water from our farm’s own source to bring it down to 40%, leaving us with a clean, creamy spirit. Depending on our schedule of production and demand, we’ll be creating different products each day. Many will know that gin is in fact made from vodka and so we’ll use our Original Potato Vodka to make our GB Gin…
To do just that, Ginny is started up and the individual bags of botanicals are popped into the carter head and left to infuse for 5 hours. If we are making one of the flavoured gins, our delicious Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo, for example, we’ll infuse the GB Gin with peel and fruit then blend until we have the desired flavour and taste. A personal favourite of mine as the smell right through the distillery is just incredible!
After a spot of lunch, any necessary paperwork is completed and through the day we will sign off any liquid that is ready to head to the bottling room. Each batch of spirit, whether it be vodka, gin or a liqueur, is tested, tasted and personally signed off by myself and one other of the distillers, Will.
Amongst the day to day productions, I also sample the whisky casks and aged products at least twice a month to check progression. The whisky is a very exciting project that’s been in the pipeline for a while now – stay tuned, it’s going to be a good one!
As we draw near the end of the day, again, we’ll make any checks and head home after having the pleasure of taking the humble spud and transforming it into something that’s enjoyed all over the world. There’s a lot of work and effort that goes into it, but we wouldn’t have it any other way – it’s a one of a kind place to work, surrounded by beautiful Herefordshire countryside and a wonderful team.