A day in the life of a vodka and gin producer
In the English countryside, Scott Kirkwood produces handmade vodka and gin, better known as the from grain to glass method.
The creation of ethical spirits is only possible through the organic method. Or one who uses local ingredients. Also, those ingredients that are processed only by craft distillation methods. Scott Hill uses these practices to create his vodka and gin.
The environment in which Hill develops its spirits lends itself perfectly to this purpose. He draws his inspiration from the Shropshire Hills to grow his barley. He explains that barley, wheat and rye are easily found there. Ingredients that grow throughout the county and Herefordshire.
Scott, born American and based in the UK since 2010, explains, “I didn’t want to make a London gin trend, I wanted to make a Shropshire hills gin, which reflects the local area“. It expresses the importance and richness of the land where he works. His distillery is in Stanton Lacy, near Ludlow. It is equipped with a 500 litre pot still built in Poland. It is made of double insulated stainless steel and uses a fifth of the energy of a traditional copper still.
The creation of the vodka and gin
- The first distillation breaks down the alcohol in the beer produces a liquid of about 30 % alcohol by volume.
- It then takes four 10-hour days to complete an entire batch of distiller’s beer.
- This liquid is returned to the alembic to be distilled 30 times. It is a long process that takes three days to reach a purity of 96% alcohol by volume.
- A carbon filter cleans the spirit from any impurities.
- Another cold filtration process clarifies the spirit.
- In a muslin bag, Scott adds the herbs that will infuse the drink: juniper, coriander seed and angelica root with their local forage ingredients including heather, blackberry and wild apples.
- Overnight the muslin bag is soaked with the spirit. Then, the next day, the bag is cherished over the alembic to continue with evaporation.
This is how Hillside Gin from Kirkwood Distillery was born. Scott explains that it was a long process of trial and error. Today, he produces two more products like Whinberry Gin and Islay Cask Aged Gin.
Both Hillside gin and Hillside vodka are available for sale. Desperate to taste them?
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.
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