Kindred spirits at Pipehouse Gin
13th June 2019
Meet the team behind Pipehouse Gin, a spirit company based in Tunbridge Wells. As well as celebrating its first birthday this month Pipehouse will also be taking part in The Pantiles Gin and Jazz festival running from June 22-23
There are four of us behind Pipehouse Gin: We’re two sets of couples; Ben and Katherine Larcombe and Sam and Emma Priestley. We’re all passionate about good gin and wanted to have a go at creating our own recipe. Lots of our friends and family thought we were a bit mad as none of us had any previous experience in the industry but, after tasting our gin, they were definitely won over!
We launched in June of last year but we first started working on the recipe for our Earl Grey & Cucumber Gin and the brand’s design about nine months before we launched, towards the end of 2017.
The main reason we began Pipehouse is because we all love gin! The more gins we tried, the more we realised there was something missing from the gin market – i.e. flavoured gins that are also London Drys (the strictest, highest quality category of gin). In other words, flavoured gin that is traditional, juniper-led, and isn’t sickly sweet. We started experimenting and playing around with recipes and eventually realised we were on to something special. It’s been challenging, but worth it! We’ve learnt so much through starting Pipehouse. Almost every aspect was new to us.
'Unlike more traditional companies, we don’t have positions that are set in stone. Everyone pitches in, sharing the logistics and management tasks'
Gin is currently the drink du jour in the UK but there are so many things that make our gin unique and different. I think one of the main things is our focus on creating interesting flavour combinations. What we call ‘perfect pairings’. There’s no other gin on the market that has the same flavour combinations as us.
We currently have two flavours: Earl Grey & Cucumber, a lovely fresh gin with floral notes, and Pink Grapefruit & Thyme, with zesty and sharp flavours accentuated by hints of aromatic thyme. We thought one might end up becoming more popular than the other but at the moment people seem to be split as to which is their favourite. We’re currently producing one batch per month. And we’re a small-batch gin so that’s about 250 bottles at a time.
We supply lots of lovely local bars, restaurants and retailers. We love seeing the creative ways they use our gin. Thackeray’s have just created a gorgeous cocktail with our new gin (the ‘Pipehouse Bennett’) and The Beacon have created a summery cocktail (‘Tea Garden Lane’) made with our original gin and served in a teacup! We also supply the Vale Vault, where we did this exclusive photoshoot for SO magazine too.
Here’s a couple of favourite recipes to enjoy Pipehouse…
Pipehouse French 75
We love this twist on the classic French 75. It’s both impressive and delicious yet so easy to make!
Pour 50ml Pipehouse Pink Grapefruit & Thyme Gin, 1 tbsp of fresh grapefruit juice, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker then fill up with ice. Shake well then strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a twist of grapefruit zest
Pipehouse Summer Cup
One of our favourite recipes is the Pipehouse Summer Cup. It’s perfect
for this time of year!
50ml Pipehouse Earl Grey & Cucumber Gin
25ml lemon juice
1 Muddle the raspberries and cucumber
2 Add the gin, Pimm’s and lemon, and shake in a cocktail shaker
3 Strain over ice in a large wine glass
4 Top with lemonade and garnish
With thanks to the team at the Vale Vault for allowing SO magazine to shoot the Pipehouse Gin team
Art Direction: Lee Smith | Photography: Craig Matthews