A HEREFORDSHIRE craft distillery has won a life-changing competition to have its bottles stocked in 900 supermarket stores and online.
The distillery has been crowned winner of Grow with Aldi – a nationwide search for the greatest craft spirits the UK has to offer. Beating hundreds of other craft distilleries from across the UK, the victor Penrhos gin launches in Aldi’s 900 UK stores and online from 9th August, for £17.99 (70cl).
Penrhos Spirits is the brainchild of two third-generation fruit farmers, Charles Turner and Richard Williams, and their families. With the blueberries, raspberries, cherries and apples on their farm on the front-line of the increasing issue of food waste, they decided what better way to use the what-would-have-been wasted ‘wibbly wobbly’ fruit than to traditionally distill a fruity botanical gin.
Based on yielding calculations, the farm will generate approximately 3,000 punnets of ‘wibbly wobbly’ blueberries this year (the main ingredient in the gin).
The operation came from humble beginnings in 2017 with a three-litre distiller bucket and regular runs to the local Aldi store for vodka. Years later, roles have been reversed and Aldi is getting set to stock a quarter of a tonne of their unwanted fruit on shelves across the country this summer, in the format of 18,000 bottles of premium gin. This is Penrhos Gin’s biggest order to date and three times the amount bottled in the entirety of last year.
Since winning the competition, the small firm has already grown rapidly, replacing their old farm barn where they used to rear cows with a modern 10 X 10m warehouse, making room for a new and more efficient bottling line and space to store a lot more orders.
Each bottle of Penrhos Hibiscus handcrafted gin contains around 12g of blueberries combined with, cherry blossom, and honey from the farm and the subtle flavours of pink pepper, cardamom, and rose petals from their orchards.
Founder Charles said: “The biggest challenge for small craft distillers like us is breaking out of the local 40-mile radius. To be crowned winner of the Grow with Aldi competition and be stocked in 900 stores – and online – on a national scale is a major breakthrough for the business.
“We’re proud to have been successful in producing a high-quality gin out of what is, essentially, leftovers from our farm, reducing the carbon footprint of the fruit on shelves. We’re looking to reduce our impact on the environment even further now. We’re already upping our bees on the farm so that we can source enough honey to produce more spirit variants including honey-spiced rum. Our ultimate end goal is to re-purpose 100% of our fruit waste to ferment into alcohol and use as the base spirit in our products as well as a botanical flavouring.”
Pritesh Mody, spirits expert and TV mixologist, who helped to judge the competition sheds light on why Penrhos nabbed top spot:
‘We tried hundreds of top-notch craft gins, rums, and whiskies on judging day, a true testament to the high standard of small UK spirit producers. It was no mean feat choosing a winner, but Penrhos stood out because of its excellent quality of liquid. Wonderful floral botanicals with a pleasant oriental spiced punch. To then find out that its profile was a result of unwanted fruit from a family-run farm…that really impressed me.’