Penwortham gin lovers use lockdown to start their own distillery

A new gin is about to hit the shelves - with a lockdown twist.

Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 3:45 pm

Ellis McKeown and Liam Stemson have used their extra free time during the past year to make their dreams of making their own gin come true.

Now they are gearing up to launch No1 Fairham Gin, a homage to their road name in Penwortham.

Ellis, 26, who works in marketing and social media, said: "We've always been gin fans and it's always been on our minds to make our own.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ellis McKeown and Liam Stemson

"Lockdown gave us time to perfect this and try to move into the craft gin market."

Liam added: "Lockdown just put things into perspective for us. We love our day jobs, but we thought 'why not just go and try this?' It's a dream, and let's see where it takes us."

Their signature gin is a London Dry gin, made using a base alcohol, secret ingredients and traditional methods such as copper distillation and vapour infusion.

Ellis said: "We cut out the chill filtration stage during distilling to savour every flavour, so this means you may notice a pearlescent haze when the gin is chilled, mixed with ice or your favourite mixer."

The gin will be hitting shelves soon

Early recipes were played with in their home, but now distillation and packaging is running at a unit in Leyland.

Liam, 25, who works in sales, said: "There's quite a citrus punch. It's 100 percent vapour infused as well, which not a lot of gins do, but it gives it quite a delicate flavour."

He added: "People have said to us there's a lot of brands and aren't we worried about the competition. That's natural, but we wouldn't just be doing it if we didn't think we could add value and bring something different to the market."

They approached gin expert Gerard Maclusky, who agreed to be their consultant master distiller. Gerard was assistant distiller at Tanqueray Gordon and was involved in the development of the well renowned Tanqueray 10. He has also been head distiller for Masons Gin distillery where he created the UK's first ever distilled sloe gin.

The gin has been named after the road where the men live

Ellis said: "For him to be interested in what we're doing is amazing."

The men are now trying to work with local businesses to get their products in local bars, as well as high-profile mixer companies, who can offer a bundle package.

They are keen to play on the local link, but not exclude anyone from outside the area.

Liam said: "We were playing around with names and we said where we live out loud and it stuck. Now every time I say my address to someone, it sounds like the brand."

Ellis added: "We want to be part of the local community and have that reflected in the name. We want to put ourselves on the map, where we're from."

He added: "We've had a very good response on social media. There's a lot of gin fans in the area.

"There's been a great response to the bottle art too, with the botanical illustrations."

The man are hoping to reduce plastic waste and waste from fruits used in the manufacturing process by offering it out to people who make jam.