The journey of Batch is one of a leap from the South to the North of England, from beer to gin and plenty of ups and downs along the way…
Batch started off in Winchester which is where the founder, Phil Whitwell is currently located. Phil started off brewing craft beer in 1000 bottle runs and selling it locally before catching the gin bug. Having always had a keen eye for identifying flavours and blending them together he saw gin as the perfect canvas to apply his efforts to.
Since August 2016 they have been tinkering away in their unit in Burnley, Lancashire but before then they were in Head Distiller’s Ollie’s basement and before that they were at the site where they were producing beer in Winchester. It’s meant a load of administrative hoops to jump through with applications to HMRC for the appropriate licenses for each respective site.
The main reason for the move up North was the accommodating business environment in Burnley compared to Winchester and Phil’s family ties to the area which has enabled him to take several of them on to work in the business. Ollie, the Head Distiller for instance is Phil’s nephew and his sister and brother-in-law are the delivery drivers.
The team produce their products on a variety of stills, the main one being Adrian, a locally made stainless steel column still, which has the largest volume out of their production equipment. Wanting to try and make the business as green as possible, lots of research was carried out into which types of stills we’re available on the market and where they were made. Phil realised that many of the stills you could purchase or commission to be made ultimately came from China, with a smaller amount being made in Europe. He entered a discussion with a local engineering firm who we’re confident they could build a still that could exceed on quality alebit for an increased cost. Adrian is a work of art and truly unique, something that most distilleries in the country can’t boast
Most stills in the UK’s distilleries are named after females, its tradition. Batch decided to buck this trend by naming their still after a friend of the business sadly passed away, their products proudly being made in his memory.
Deciding on the recipe for the flagship Batch gin was no mean feat. The team concocted 55 possible varieties, each with their own strengths and weaknesses and whittled that number down to one in a very time consuming process. They decided early on the both Frankincense and Myrrh were going to be in the gin, these botanicals provide value as fixatives. Fixatives like Orris root or Angelica root which appear in lots of other gins work to bind some of the botanicals to each other which results in a more complete profile. Many of their botanicals fall within the ‘Spice’ category and it does result in a fantastically balanced gin with different layers of spice gently making themselves known to the palate, one after one. It really is a gin that you’re able to identify each botanical separately with a little bit of effort, something which can’t be said across the board.
Kaffir lime leaf is one of the botanicals that narrowly missed out on being included in the Batch flagship gin. It’s something Phil was very keen to incorporate into his One Time Gin as he knew how well it worked with all of the other botanicals he had trialled during the product development for their original Batch gin. Lime leaf works very differently to other citrus elements such as using the fruits peels in the mix, it’s incredibly fragrant and provides a very unique flavour.
By combining Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass with orange peel this gin really forges its own route to bringing a citrus hit immediately apparent upon first sipping the gin. You still get a spicy finish after the initial citrus blast wanes which makes it a multi-layered and complex product.
One product that’s new to the Batch line up is their recently released Whinberry gin, or Bilberries as they’re commonly known outside of the North West. Sitting at 40% this is still very much a gin rather than a liqueur despite the addition of a touch of sugar to counter the bite from the Whinberries. This product was released quietly around Christmas time and has become a firm favourite with the local crowd which is where the Batch crew concentrate their efforts.
Their products are relatively hard to come by if hunting outside of their turf. They have created some great relationships with distributors up North seeing them available in a huge amount of regional supermarkets, off-licences and bars. For those of us residing in the South of the country a quick search on the internet gives you access to their online ordering portal at www.batchbrew.co.uk Both the Whinberry gin and the original Batch gin are available here with free delivery and come highly recommended from us!