Brighton Gin has already been warmly received here in its home city, but this week it got a prime ministerial seal of approval too, as founders Helen Chesshire and Kathy Caton took their spirit to 10 Downing Street. The craft gin producers were invited to a round table discussion with David Cameron and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Liz Truss, a remarkable honour for a new and small producer like Brighton Gin.
The UK’s Wine and Spirit Trade Association has found their industry will be stronger if the Britain remained in the European Union. That message was endorsed by 90% of its members who responded to its internal consultation on the issue.
As part of the consultation the WSTA asked its 300 members to complete a questionnaire in a bid to understand their views, including the benefits of remaining and their key concerns about a Brexit. Environment Secretary Liz Truss MP hosted a roundtable event at 10 Downing Street on Weds 23 March with WSTA small and medium enterprises to find out first-hand how important the role of exports and access to the EU is to this businesses. “We were honoured to have been asked to be there as such a small and new producer of craft gin,” said Brighton Gin’s Helen Chesshire. During proceedings the Prime Minister joined the discussion to ask what more could be done to support SMEs with exports.
There’s certainly a lot for the Prime Minister to be impressed by. Brighton Gin has received recognition internationally, nationally and locally, winning awards at the International Wine and Spirits Convention, being named one of the top gins of 2015 by the Sunday Times and getting placed in the top three food and drink producers in Sussex. Chessire and Caton began trading from the city’s first legal distillery in Dec 2014 and create their premium spirit using local and organic ingredients. Only 250 bottles of the gin are produced at a time, all of which are hand waxed and labelled in Brighton, before many are delivered locally by bike. The base spirit is distilled with juniper, orange and lime peel, milk thistle and coriander seed, the latter of which is being grown commercially in nearby Ringmer for the first time in over 200 years. But it’s not just the ingredients which have a local origin; the colour of the labels and wax are inspired by the blue of the Brighton seafront railings.
With the weight of government on his shoulders perhaps a stiff G&T – served with Brighton Gin’s recommended slice of orange peel – is just what Mr Cameron needs.