Gin There, Done That – England’s Oldest Distillery

The Black Friars Distillery: 60 Southside St, Plymouth PL1 2LQ

The Black Friars Distillery: 60 Southside St, Plymouth PL1 2LQ


Located near the waterfront in the Barbican, the historic Plymouth Gin Distillery has been producing premium gin for over 250 years. It is England’s oldest operating gin distillery and was established in 1793. It was built in the early 1400s and is today regarded as one of the most prestigious gin makers in the world.

Visitors may tour the distillery and discover the background of gin manufacturing in Plymouth as well as the distinctive processes used to make Plymouth Gin for as little as £15 per person.

One of the most notable aspects is its use of the “Plymouth Gin Distiller’s Method.” The distillery created this process in the 18th century, using a combination of seven botanicals, including juniper, angelica root, and orris root, to create a unique flavour. This method is now protected by an EU geographical indication, meaning that only gin made in Plymouth using this method can be called Plymouth Gin.

The distillery takes great pride in its ongoing dedication to sustainability. The distillery has adopted several environmentally friendly measures, such as rainwater collection and a closed-loop system for recycling waste, and local botanicals are used to make the gin.

Plymouth Gin is enjoyed by gin lovers worldwide and can be found in some of the most prestigious bars and restaurants. The distillery also sells a variety of gin-based liqueurs and Navy Strength gin, which has historically been served on Royal Navy ships and has a higher proof (57%, which feels not dissimilar to getting kicked in the back of the head). Navy strength may sound like a dated term, but it was actually coined in 1993 as part of a marketing campaign by Plymouth Gin.

Visitors can tour the distillery and taste the gin, and even create their own blend in the gin lab. When considering paying for a tour, it may be worth booking ahead of time through their website, as the tours do fill up fairly often. The distillery shop, open to all, not just those who’ve paid for a tour, offers a wide range of gin-related products, including gin glasses, books, and other souvenirs. The Plymouth Gin Distillery is a must-visit destination for gin lovers and anyone interested in the history of Plymouth.

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