Gin, the hottest spirit on the block at the moment, don’t you agree? Everywhere you look there seems to be is a Gin inspired festival here or a Gin themed evening there. Which is music to my ears, a fellow gin lover! You can understand my interest in a local gin named Newcastle Gin and myself born and bred in the North East of England, I decided to get in contact with the owners of the brand, The Vaulkhard Group, to learn more about this ‘Geordie Gin’.
Harry Vaulkhard agreed to meet with me at their HQ of Bealim House after our correspondence about Newcastle Gin, I was offered a chat, along with a tour of the distillery and the bar itself. I wanted to find out more about the local gin, how it tasted and just how important it’s Geordie Roots were. Firstly I was met by the Brand Ambassador, Adam Mc Donough who kindly greeted me and offered me my first taste of Newcastle Gin. After giving me a quick synopsis about the brand, he poured a perfect serve GnT, a good measure of Newcastle Gin with Fevertree slimline Tonic topped off with rose petals and hibiscus flower. The taste was a smooth yet light one, very easy to drink with floral flavours, the rose and hibiscus came through well with a lovely aftertaste, which if you drink gin is not always the case. Harry arrived soon after and gave me a background to the family business, he explained to me how Newcastle Gin came about, the trials and tribulations of starting to distill their own gin and the hard work that continues in order to keep up with demand.
Newcastle Gin was first established in 2015, the brainchild of Harry. Harry and his brother Ollie run The Vaulkhard Group, as joint owners they have a host of bars in the North East and Northumberland. Harry enjoyed home brewing as a hobby, he had always had a passion for making his own gin to sell in their bars and beyond. He thought Bealim House would be the perfect home for it! Bealim House, formally Fluid Bar & Kitchen is situated in Newcastle’s Gallowgate, it was refurbished and transformed into the gin bar and accompanying distillery as it is today. I was surprised to learn how hands on Harry was with Newcastle Gin, he performs the distilling process himself and explained just how time consuming it actually is. It takes over 72 hours to create the floral gin, they use a combination of techniques, that include vapour infusion through a 450 litre traditional copper pot still, with their vapour botanical basket! They distill with nine botanicals, Juniper, Moroccan Sumac, Orange peel, Iranian Hibiscus, Rose Petal, Coriander and three secret ingredients… It was refreshing to learn about gin making and the amount that can be distilled each time. The main points that stood out for me were, all of Newcastle Gin is distilled on the premises at Bealim House and is a London Dry Gin, the production is on a 3 monthly basis, dependent on demand. The water used in the gin making is actually Newcastle City water which adds more authenticity to the brand, it also takes the newly made gin from 85% to 43%. The distillery area sees an 8ft still, which is actually one the largest in the UK, set behind bulletproof glass for added protection, along with a vent that was specially built for Bealim House, due to the fact the still room is joined on it’s back wall to part of Newcastle’s’ancient’city walls adding that extra local charm to Newcastle Gin. There is also a bonded warehouse in the basement for other parts of the distillery and the bottling plant used for the gin is again local, in Middlesborough.
Every part of the process in making a bottle of Newcastle Gin encompasses the North East, which is important especially to the local people as we are all proud of our heritage and local history. I was throughly impressed with the gin, the distillery and the creator! I think Newcastle Gin has all the makings of a great gin, authenticity, locally made and a hands on approach, I recommend you all go and try some. Cheers!
You only buy the Newcastle Gin bottles at Bealim House at present, priced at £38 or selected festivals they attend with their Newcastle Gin van. However you can enjoy the spirit at all the Vaulkhard Group bars in the North East and it is growing across the UK and overseas. Later this year new additions are also promised…! Stay Tuned.