How did a Canadian and a Brit come together to make gin in Abingdon?
Abingdon Gin started as an idea in a cramped Hong Kong apartment where partners, Ben Blackledge and Janice Hewitt, began dabbling in distilling with the aim of creating a truly sippable gin.
Ben, who was working as an airline pilot at the time, would bring botanicals back from layovers around the world, experimenting with recipes and cuts using a tiny copper still.
“We weren’t living right in the centre of Hong Kong. Our village was pretty out of the way, and it was hard to get a decent drink.
“We discovered that we could bring together some really interesting botanicals from the furthest corners of the world and combine them to make some really tasty gins – admittedly though there were some howlers along the way!
When they moved to Abingdon, they found a thriving town without any craft distillery so decided to take on the challenge.
“Abingdon is a hidden gem – lovely parks, on the Thames and plenty of pubs! It was definitely moving onwards and upwards with lots of trendy bars coming in which in turn is bringing in a younger crowd.
“We’re grateful to add our gin to the community in Abingdon. It has a rich history and is full of active, sociable people who enjoy a drink in the pub or at home in the garden. We’re happy to contribute to that in our own way.”
Nearly 100 batches, 7 methods and 1 year later, Abingdon Gin is opening its doors.