WFH - Will Edge, Greensand Ridge Distillery
Wow! What a 24 hours! If you're still reeling, I promise there'll be no mention of that election & especially not that man! Instead I'd like to introduce you to the Greensand Ridge brand, currently building a reputation for its gin.
This gin has only been around for a few weeks but it's already being talked about. Will Edge and his family have set up home in a beautiful 19th century coach house in Shipbourne with spectacular views over the Greensand Ridge. The stables have been transformed into part science lab, part bottling production line whilst maintaining some of their original character and, as the saying goes, 'this is where the magic happens.'
Will, originally from Sevenoaks, left the area in his youth to find his fortune but after working in London for quite a while, he decided that sitting behind a desk was for him no longer. He turned a hobby into something more by enrolling in a master's degree in Brewing and Distilling after years of home brews and cider making.
Now, let me tell you about the gin. I was served it neat and was, quite frankly, blown away, and I don’t mean by the alcohol content. It was amazing, the best gin I’ve ever tasted. (Listening to the interview, it’s quite amusing to hear my emphatic ‘WOW!’ when I taste it for the first time.) It’s made with eight botanicals that grow within a mile of the distillery including cobnuts, oak moss & gorse and seven traditional gin botanicals, including the essential juniper. It's drinkable with a mixer or neat, unlike lots of other gins on the market (responsibly, of course!).
There is a growing appetite for consumers to understand the provenance of their food and drink alongside an industry & consumer mission to reduce waste and the Greensand Ridge Distillery is keen to embrace both of these things. Like the spirits he creates, Will wants his brand to be transparent. "I'm trying to build an honest brand so that consumers know what they're getting," he tells me, "and I can do that as I have the still [the distilling apparatus], I don't need to outsource anything." He not only distills in-house but he also bottles, labels and distributes. He’s proud to be able to say that the only non-recyclable waste from his production line is the backing of the stickers that adorn the bottles – pretty impressive hey?
And that isn’t the only way he recycles: 'sustainability’ is a word that you hear Will use a lot and he is keen to support local farmers who have to contend with price squeezes and mounting competition. The Greensand Ridge 'Raspberry Ghost' schnapps is made from surplus raspberries and the barrel aged apple brandy* (apples fermenting as we speak) uses storm damaged apples deemed below par for the supermarkets - both fruits sourced from local farmers.
Just as Will supports local, lots of local establishments are supporting him: Fuggles, TOFS, The Kentish Hare, The Wine Library and Gorgeous George are just some of the local places where you can support him to enjoy it yourself or buy some for home (it would make a great Christmas present!). And you can book now on the website to visit the distillery in the new year and create your own alcoholic tipple.
So at a time when the world seems to be going mad, I heartily recommend pouring yourself a Greensand Ridge gin & tonic (Will recommends a gin: tonic ratio of 1:3) and taking some time out with friends. That's what gets my vote.
Will has kindly donated a prize to my "12 days of Feastmas" competition so keep liking and sharing Eat Around Tonbridge on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram as well as the website, to be in with a chance of winning a bottle!
Greensand Ridge distillery can be found on Twitter on @GSRdistillery