This May, we introduced a new supplier to The Herbalist, bringing a selection of locally distilled gins to our Maidstone bar and restaurant. Located just 200 yards away, Maidstone Distillery is home to a 450-litre bespoke still, where spirits are crafted and distilled until they are polished and bold enough to be bottled and hand-finished.
Despite being a fairly new addition to the town, Maidstone Distillery’s roots are built on a rich heritage of spirit making in the town.
Heading back to the 18th Century, George Bishop was a master distiller, who created quality and world-renowned spirits from Maidstone. As a young businessman, George travelled to Holland to extend his knowledge of the industry and to acquire the art of distilling. During these times, there were little licensing restrictions meaning that anyone could distil – and distil they did. For many, Gin was actually considered cleaner than water.
Determined to bring the industry to his hometown, George lobbied government, arguing that the spirit should be produced in a controlled and regulated manner, and that a quality UK product would help to prevent smuggling. Effective persuasion allowed George Bishop to distil Maidstone Geneva (gin)!
Years later, George Bishop had built a new distillery, an impressive building that dominated the Maidstone skyline. Almost 20 years later, the Distillery at Maidstone was renowned for producing one of the finest gins of all Europe and was referred to as Maidstone Gin or Maidstone Geneva.
George Bishops legacy lives on through Maidstone Distillery, in spirits with depth, meaning and character. Inside the Distillery, you can experience tours, tastings, and guided gin-making classes, where you can watch the spirits being made first-hand.
And where better to taste the award-winning gin than at our bar and restaurant, The Herbalist! Book your table here.