Six-figure investment restores Maidstone Distillery

A husband and wife are investing a six-figure sum to bring spirits production back to the English town of Maidstone with a distillery that will make gin, vodka, liqueurs and whisky.

Set to open by autumn this year, Maidstone Distillery will feature a 450-litre copper still, designed by master distiller Gerard Evans.

The distillery will offer tours and experiences, such as making gin in mini copper stills. There will also be a bar and small shop.

Darren Graves, who is opening the new facility with his wife, Sam, said: “We want to give Maidstone its spirit back.”

Darren and Sam Graves have worked to involve the local community and spirits fans in the distillery’s opening, and are offering Founding Memberships and “unique” member events.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Maidstone Distillery was distilling 5,000 gallons of pure alcohol a week and 700 hogs were kept on site, living off the firm’s surplus grains.

The Maidstone mayor at the time, George Bishop, lobbied government arguing that spirits should be produced in a controlled and regulated way, and that producing a quality UK product would prevent smuggling.

He was so persuasive that an Act of Parliament decreed Bishop could distil Maidstone geneva and without paying certain duties. He was the first, and only, distiller to be granted these special conditions, according to the distillery.

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