G&J Greenall has been creating fine spirits for over 250 years and is the oldest continuous producer of London Dry Gin in the world. We recently spoke with Caroline Whitfield, Greenall's Director of Marketing to learn more about this historic brand.
1. G&J Greenall has been producing fine spirits for over 250 years - what is the history behind the brand, and how did it all begin?
The story begins in 1760, when Thomas Dakin built his distillery on Bridge Street in Warrington, north-western England. Dakin's first distilling was delayed until 1761 because the grain harvests of the preceding few years had been so poor that the government prohibited gin manufacture in order to maintain the grain supply for bread making. Once Dakin began, in 1761, "Dakin's Warrington Gin" proved a great success and eventually Thomas's son Edward Dakin took over the business.
Practically 100 years later, in 1860, following Edward Dakin's death, fellow entrepreneur Edward Greenall leased Dakin's Bridge Street distillery and, then in 1870, purchased the enterprise outright. Edward, with his brothers William and Peter, had been operating a prosperous brewery a mere twenty miles away, which had been established by their father Thomas Greenall in 1762.
Incidentally, the 'G' & 'J' of the now familiar G&J Greenall comes from the Greenall's younger brothers, Gilbert and John, and in 1894 "G&J Greenall" became an incorporated company. Dakin's Warrington Gin was renamed Greenall's and continued to be made according to Dakin's original 1761 recipe. The same botanical blend Dakin used in 1761 is used today.
2. Greenall's Original London Dry Gin has a wide array of distinctive aromas and flavors - which botanicals were selected for Greenall's and why?
Greenall's Original London Dry Gin uses eight different botanicals - juniper berries, coriander, lemon peel, angelica, orris, liquorice, cassia bark and bitter almonds. These are macerated in wheat neutral spirit and purified water in a pot still for at least 24 hours prior to distillation. This allows the dried botanicals to rehydrate and infuse their aromas into the spirit.
The original botanicals selected reflect the trading route of herbs and spices going through the UK, and build upon the core of juniper. They created a balanced taste profile in 1761 and they still do 250 years later in 2011! Drinking Greenall's Original London Dry Gin is truly a step back in time.
Also, as a 'London Dry Gin', as opposed to gin without this, the highest quality designation in existence for gin, the botanicals are placed into our traditional copper pot stills and allowed to rest with spirit and water, prior to being distilled together. Ingredients are given time to fully diffuse, awakening and releasing flavours to create the refreshingly smooth and complex taste sensation. In a gin without the 'London Dry' designation, artificial flavourings can be added, and colours and flavours can also be added after the distillation is completed. Crafting a true 'London Dry Gin' is a far more involved process.
3. What other elements set Greenall's apart from the competition?
Greenalls is the oldest continuously operating distillery in the UK so we have an unmatched depth of understanding of how to create consistently excellent gin. After 250 years we also believe that we have a unique pedigree in the global marketplace. There are not many companies or brands that can legitimately claim to be older than the United States itself. We also are extremely proud to have the world's only female master gin distiller.
In 2011, we updated our packaging with what we feel is a 21st century sleek, contemporary look and we hope that this will encourage more people to try Greenall's. Greenall's Original London Dry Gin is as much a spirit of today as it was a spirit of 1761.
As for the taste of Greenall's: The gin has a clean nose of coriander, juniper and citrus, leading to a palate in which these three flavours dominate followed by hints of liquorice, parma violets and cracked black pepper. While very dry on the palate, Greenall's has a slightly creamy mouth feel, and a peppery, minty freshness lasts through the long dry finish.
4. What's next for the company? Are you currently working on any new projects or planning any for the future?
We are currently focused on making Greenall's a success in the USA. After 250 years of selling gin to the rest of the world, our first priority is to win the hearts and mouths of American consumers!
5. What is your favorite way to enjoy Greenall's Original London Dry Gin?
In an ageless classic, the Greenall's Gin Fizz:
2 oz gin
dash of lemon or lime juice
1/2 tsp superfine sugar or homemade sugar syrup
mint for garnish
Preparation: Pour the gin, juice, sugar into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and serve.
Cheers from DrinkUpNY!