A COUPLE with a passion for making sloe gin have launched their own distillery in a bid to produce it commercially.
Sharon Elliott and her partner Simeon Lyons founded the Puddlebrook Distillery in Hawthorns Road, Drybrook, in 2017 after moving to the Forest for a quieter life, and have planted a field with 600 blackthorn bushes to provide berries.
Their next target is obtaining planning permission for a production plant building capable of housing seven shipping containers to store the alcohol in.
They say they have been making sloe gin since 2012 and “believe they have a recipe that has a large and sustainable commercial potential.”
Qualified horticulturalist Imogen Elliott is the third member of the team who looks after the sloe berry bushes.
Sharon said the idea to go into production was born when they moved to Drybrook from Cheltenham and their daughter Imogen introduced them to a local who was looking to sell a small three-acre parcel of land.
Having purchased the site, they have since obtained a licence to produce alcohol, and as well as clearing the field next to the Euroclydon nursing home, they have planted bee and butterfly friendly wild flowers to help pollination and installed bee hives.
On their website www.puddlebrookdistillery.com Sharon has blogged about the transformation of the site from an overgrown scrubland.
“The site until recently was unused and unkempt with a significant amount of rubbish and scrap metal,” she has told planners. “This has now been removed and the site brought into use again.
“Bushes have been planted and bee hives introduced, and wildlife is thriving with birds of prey hunting overhead.”
The production plant is needed to provide a positive environmental legacy as well as developing a commercial product, she added.
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