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Brothers behind 820 Spirits launch gin distillery and tasting bar in Boldre

TWO brothers have launched a distillery and tasting bar in Boldre and are promising to “revolutionise” Britain’s most popular spirit.

Tom and Jonny Simpson set up 820 Spirits in 2021, and have recently moved their base from a small unit in Minstead to Shallowmead Nurseries in order to realise a long-held dream to run a teaching school.

Tom and Jonny Simpson at their new distillery in Boldre
Tom and Jonny Simpson at their new distillery in Boldre

The firm produces various varieties of gin, including blackberry, chocolate orange and Lymington pink – which is actually lilac in colour but turns blue when tonic is added – alongside a rum. There are also plans afoot for a whiskey, too.

“We got to a point where we needed a bigger site,” said Tom, who formerly worked for a big distillery producing white label bottles to sell to supermarkets. “We want people to come in and see the botanicals we use and learn about the distilling process.

820 Spirits distillery in Boldre Tom and Jonny Simpson
820 Spirits distillery in Boldre Tom and Jonny Simpson

“They will also be able to taste the gins and take home a bottle of what they have created.”

820 Spirits currently supplies various bars, restaurants and stores across the New Forest, including The Cave in Milford, The Thatched Cottage Hotel in Brockenhurst, The Solent Cellar in Lymington, and Pages of Lyndhurst.

Tom, who graduated with a masters in chemical engineering in 2019, has won several awards for his recipes over the

years, including from the International Wine & Spirit Competition.

The majority of the botanicals Tom uses at his distillery, including juniper, are grown in the New Forest, which he says enables him to “ensure a consistent quality”.

“Unlike many producers, we don’t use sugar in our spirits because we want to keep them as clean as possible,” continued Tom, who lives in Lyndhurst.

“We get sweetness instead from botanicals like hibiscus and Sichuan pepper. In our chocolate orange gin we use citrus and cocoa nibs.”

He continued: “We plan to revolutionise gin and tonic by starting with a high quality gin, which we believe tastes better than any other gin out there.

“Our gins have been created using innovative distillation techniques. We have utilised vacuum distillation at cold temperatures, and botanic steam baskets, allowing for the freshness of certain botanicals to be more present.

“Specific botanicals have been carefully chosen to compliment the percentage alcohol charge of the still, and the cutting point of the distillation. This ensures a premium flavour in the hearts of the distillation.”

Tom said his rum came about after producing it specially for a friend’s wedding. “They were both in the navy so wanted rum for their bar,” he said. “We had such a great response from all those who tasted it, I decided to continue producing it.

“Whiskey is a spirit I’ve never produced for myself and is something I’d really like to get into.”

Tom has started growing some of his botanicals, including juniper, at his site at Shallowmead, and plans on cultivating more in the future.

The teaching/tasting school can cater for bookings of up to 20, and as well as hosting tastings and gin making, Tom is also looking to introduce cocktail masterclasses.

For more information or to book, visit https://820spirits. com

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