Leeds gin John Robert’s Botanic Request made in garage distillery wins 2021 Global Gin Masters silver award
A new gin created in a Leeds couple’s garage distillery has won praise in an international competition, confirming their decision to quit London and strike out on their own.
John Robert’s Botanic Request may only have been on sale for a few months, but it is already being stocked in many Leeds bars and a second batch is about to go into production.
“We only launched in April, but we are already selling well in Yorkshire and London ” said Ben Peel, who developed the gin with his partner Emelie Nilsson and set up two small stills in their garage in Pudsey.
Ben isn’t new to gin-making though, having spent five years as a distiller at Sipsmith in London where he learned his craft and developed ideas. He then moved on within Sipsmith to train bar staff and retailers around the world about gin.
“It was a fabulous job,” said Ben, “but after a few years I decided that I wanted to come back home.”
The process for creating the gin sees hardier botanicals such as juniper treated to a vacuum system, while a sonic sound extraction method is used for the delicate ingredients such as lemon tea and orange peel.
The brand's distinctive name pays homage to the Rolling Stones’ album Their Satanic Majesties Request, as well as combining the identical middle names of Ben, his father and grandfather.
It is proving to be a winning combination, with a silver award earned during the 2021 Global Gin Masters competition organised by industry publication The Spirits Business.
“Competitions like this are an opportunity to step foot on the global stage to have your craft and skills as a distiller and liquid innovator recognised, validated and commended,” Ben said. “It is also a great way to sit shoulder to shoulder alongside or go toe to toe with some of the more established and recognised brands.”
He added that the competition is blind tasted and judged purely on the gin itself by some of the industries leading and respected palates.
The awards success has come as a welcome boost as preparations are made for producing the second batch.
Reflecting on the past few months, Ben said: “It’s quite the buzz going from an internationally recognised premium brand like Sipsmith as their dedicated innovations distiller, to quitting and leaving the London bustle, to then starting our own small unique distillery and liquid lab back home in a suburban garage here, to then getting our gin, spirit and hard work recognised on a global stage like the Gin Masters. We couldn’t be prouder.”
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