London will achieve a brand new museum on Thursday because the historic Beefeater gin distillery in Kennington opens its model new customer centre to inform the story of gin, the spirit’s half within the historical past and evolution of London, and present precisely how our favorite accompaniment for tonic is made.
Londoners received a sneak preview of the centre, and we’d advocate it to anybody fascinated with tales from London’s darkish previous, as properly these with a penchant for booze.
The expertise begins with a self-led tour by means of a collection of rooms variously decked out to resemble the streets of Victorian London, spice-laden Covent Garden Market, secret speakeasies and plush cocktail bars. On getting into, friends are handed iPads to information them across the reveals, with detailed info, photographs and movies cleverly pulled up on display when held in entrance of any of the shows.
The rooms inform the story of gin’s origins in Holland by way of to the devastatingly drunken ‘gin craze’ of 18th century London that makes a Friday night time out in Shoreditch these days look very tame certainly. There are mock-ups of prohibition-fashion bars and discreet gin supply strategies — comparable to this cat with a pipe in its paw, proven proper — from when the authorities clamped down on unlawful distilleries, and newer shows of how gin has gone from drunk juice to craft spirit, together with an interactive map pinpointing all of the distilleries in London over the previous few hundred years. While most (similar to Gordon’s) had left the capital by the flip of the Millennium, the likes of Sacred and Sipsmith have prompted a resurgence in small scale distilleries and punctiliously created merchandise since their arrival within the final 5 years.
A small part on the historical past of Beefeater itself, its phenomenal worldwide gross sales (over 21.H million litres a yr) and the awards it has gained rounds off the primary a part of the tour. It shouldn’t be completely uninteresting, however maybe an undesirable reminder that that is an exhibition linked to at least one very massive model certainly, slightly than an unbiased museum.
Still, branding is stored firmly to a minimal within the second half of the expertise, once we are met by a tour information and brought into the distillery itself to look (via glass) at distilling in motion, odor and style the totally different botanicals that go into gin, study the way it’s steeped and ‘reduce’ to be bottled and eventually given a M&T to spherical issues off.
We’ll proudly declare our large fondness for this type of social historical past of London, in addition to our penchant for a M&T, however there’s no must be a nerd or a gin freak to partake on this exhibition. The centre is put collectively very properly certainly, with excessive manufacturing values making a much more spectacular stand-alone museum than we’d have anticipated from what’s in impact a small add-on to a busy working distillery. The iPad app used for the primary half of the tour additionally signifies that a wealth of data is accessible at each stage of the story, but doesn’t overwhelm those that simply need an summary.
And is all of it an enormous advert for Beefeater? Not in any respect. The distillery has been round since 1862 and the group are rightly pleased with its heritage as the one main gin model to have stayed within the capital because the early days. We assume it additionally places them in a reasonably distinctive place to have the ability to inform this story.
Our solely criticism is that tickets are a bit steep at £12, particularly given the world’s largest promoting premium gin model is bankrolling it. But at the least you get a M&T thrown in.