Cheers! Whitby Gin scoops top prize in the World Gin Awards
Move over Count Dracula. Blood is no longer Whitby’s favourite tipple!
Whitby Gin, which has only been in production for 10 months, has just won one of the most prestigious awards in the highly-competitive gin world.
This distinctive new gin was named the Best British London Dry Gin in the World Gin Awards 2019 at a glittering ceremony in London, beating such well-known brands as Gordons and Tanqueray. Now the gin goes forward to contest the best London Dry Gin in the World category next month (February).
Luke Pentith and Jessica Slater, the young North Yorkshire couple behind Whitby Gin, were understandably thrilled with its success.
Luke explained: “I went to the London awards ceremony more in hope than expectation. I was completely stunned when it was announced, that we had won. There were over 50 other gins in the frame, including a number of well-known brands, so we are very proud of our achievement.
“Now we are through to the World Finals in the City of London on February 21. It feels as though we are dreaming – it’s all very unreal,” he added.
Luke and Jess’s dream started on a camping trip across the Outer Hebrides in June 2017. Inspired by the number of distilleries, Jess turned to Luke and wondered why her hometown of Whitby didn’t have one of its own. With Jess’s background in business planning and Luke’s experience within food manufacturing, they felt they had the skill set to produce their own local gin.
By the time they had arrived back home in Yorkshire, they had created a business plan and ordered a small still. Nine months later Whitby Gin was born in Luke’s parents’ 40 sq ft utility room near where they produced over 3,000 bottles while both working full-time 100 miles across the country.
Now they have given up their well-paid jobs and flourishing careers to concentrate on Whitby Gin, producing 1,200 bottles by hand a month.
Jess explained: “It was a massive gamble to give up our careers, but we really believed in what we could achieve. With both the North York Moors and the Yorkshire coast on our doorstep, we are lucky enough to live in a place of unrivalled natural beauty. The stark contrast between land and sea has been our greatest source of inspiration; from the botanicals we use to flavour Whitby Gin to the packaging and design.
“Our product aims to share the delights of Whitby’s historical and natural heritage as well as spark the feelings of nostalgia.. In addition to 12 traditional gin botanicals, we distil Sugar kelp, foraged from Robin Hood’s Bay at low tide; heather from the North York Moors; and Yorkshire honey from a local beekeeper.
“Since launching at the end of March 2018, we are now in over 200 outlets across the UK. We pride our self on creating great lasting relationships with our customers. This has led us to work with some of the top retailers in the region, including English Heritage, Fenwick in York and the Star in the Harbour, Moor & Tide and the Magpie in Whitby.
Luke added: “With the help of the council, we are developing plans for our new distillery in Whitby. We believe a distillery here will complement the growth of a tremendous food and drink culture in this amazing town, fuelled by enthusiasm, hard graft and expertise. Authentic craftsmanship is at the heart of what we do. There is the human touch in all stages of our process.”
A special Stoker Edition Gin, in homage to Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, was produced in October and all 199 bottles (referencing the 199 steps up to Whitby Abbey) swiftly sold out.
In addition to its success in the World Gin Awards, Whitby Gin has also received four major awards, winning a Silver Medal in the International, Wine and Spirits Competition in the London Dry Gin category and gaining a Gold Medal at the People’s Taste Awards.
Jess added: “We can’t wait for what this year has in store as our next release captures the diversity of native botanicals. We have explored the rugged coastline and dipped below the ocean surface to find those enchanting ingredients”.