Gin-gle bells! Preston couple launch their own gin brand with a Lancashire twist

Mark and Sarah Sudell
Mark and Sarah Sudell
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A Catforth couple are in for a very merry Christmas - after launching their own brand of gin.

Sarah and Mark Sudell came up with the idea for Stable Yard Gin after visiting the Lakes Distillery for a gin tour earlier this year.

Ellen Wilson and Katie Stuart at the gin launch night

Ellen Wilson and Katie Stuart at the gin launch night

Now Sarah has gone part-time to tap into the growing gin market with two flavours - Lancashire Dry and Infused Wild Berry.

The 35-year-old said: “I’m a chartered accountant and have been a financial director for the past three years. I realised I needed to get out because of the stresses and when we visited the Lakes Distillery in March, it sparked something.”

She added: “I was going to buy a little still (used for distilling gin) and play around with it to make gin for our friends who are all into it, but they weren’t as expensive as I thought, so I decided to buy a big one.”

Sarah’s still, named Rosie, has a 100 litre capacity and can produce 100 700ml bottles in one go.

Sarah said: “We applied for all our licences and played around all summer with botanicals, doing loads of research online and from books. Our family were guinea pigs for us.”

Sarah and Mark were keen to use local ingredients, including home-grown sliced apple, local hawthorn berries and heather flowers.

The name reflects the history of the building in Bay Horse Lane they are using to produce the gin, as well as Sarah’s love of horses.

The logo, showing two horses pulling a trap, is based on a photograph of Mark’s grandfather, taken on the family farm a quarter of a mile away from the distillery.

A launch night at the Running Pump in Catforth this week was attended by hundreds of people, and the first batch has sold out.

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Making gin:

Although some large-scale distilleries produce their own base spirits, Sarah explained that she buys in a natural grain spirit that is 100 per cent proof and has no flavour.

Sarah said: “The natural spirit smells like hand gel and because of the strength, it’s very volatile, so we have to water it down.”

After this process, ingredients are added inside the still, which is heated. The botanical-infused vapour then condenses.

Every gin has to have juniper in it, in order to be called gin, and surprisingly, most contain coriander, to give a citrus flavour.