All About Anno!
Hailing from the luscious green countryside of Kent, ‘The Garden of England’, Anno Distillers produce some of the finest gins and spirits to ever emerge from the county. In fact, they are the first to distil gin in the county in over 200 years, continuing the proud traditions once applied by its spirit-loving ancestors. Founded in 2011, and after much scientific endeavour, they released their signature gin into the marketplace to much acclaim in 2013. In its short time on the market, it has racked up accolades at a frenetic pace, pleasing the palettes of awards judges and consumers alike, from as far afield as San Francisco.
The co-founders of Anno Distillers, are PhD research and development chemists Andy and Norman. Having previously worked together for over ten years they have developed a firm friendship based on mutual trust. Their understanding and admiration of one another’s ethos and work ethic led to our decision to create a new company. In 2011 they took the opportunity to follow their dreams and leave behind over 60 years combined experience working in industry and make a dramatic career change. Unlike many distillers, their life-long science background in the highly technical pharmaceutical industry gives a practical understanding of the equipment capabilities, allowing Anno to make the highest quality products. They utilise their skills to craft products designed for your pleasure.
We are science-based to our core. Our name ‘Anno’ has been crafted from the Christian names of the co-founders, ANdy and NOrman.
"A" monogram is taken from an ancient German Alchemical text and was used as the symbol to describe the process of distillation, which of course ties in beautifully with our company name. The logo, together with our strap-line 'The Spirit of Alchemy' nicely connects our scientific background with our products.
Our Gin bottles combine our alchemical ‘A’ with copper to represent Patience, our unique copper-pot still, where the magic happens. The green writing alludes to the history of gin, as traditionally it has often been presented in a green bottle. However, it also evokes an image of the Garden of England, with hop bines curling around their supports, but creating a dancing, smoke-like effect as the writing reflects back through the glass, mirroring the mysticism and spirit of alchemy. Further products in the Anno range including Anno Sloe Gin and Anno Elderflower&Vodka are presented in an alternative bottle relating back to our heritage to alchemy. The bottle contains Anno straplines from the gin bottle such as 'The Spirit of Alchemy', 'Created in Kent' and 'Handcrafted in small batches'. Alchemical symbols on the bottle include:
Anno ‘A’ - character for distillation
Earth – in reference to our natural and local ingredients
Ignis circulatorius or the Fire of Circulation – meaning distillation by heat evaporation causing steam and condensation in a vessel
The Spirit of Life or reverberation – used in reference to drinking sensation
Evaporation/Dissolution – in reference to the process
On the Sloe Gin label the alchemical symbol means fusion and on the Elderflower&Vodka it is for gold.
The first gin Distillery in Kent since the Maidstone Distillery was active in the late 1700s. Anno Distillers are based in the village of Marden, which is surrounded by the beautiful Kent countryside and orchards. In The Garden of England, the fertile Earth is our playground, home to a lavish abundance of wonderful, fresh produce and interesting botanicals that allow us to carefully select local ingredients to flavour our products. Being obsessive experimenters and with a passion to create the highest quality spirits, we work relentlessly to nurture the distinctive and exciting flavours, transforming them to provide a perfect harmony of tastes and aromas using Patience, our unique copper-pot still. A hands on business from the start, Andy, Norman and Kim were directly involved in all aspects of setting up the distillery building from painting and plumbing, to even installing the still. We started with an empty building, but much like a blank canvas it allowed us to create just the environment we needed. After a lot of time, hard graft and the installation of Patience, our still, the distillery feels much more like home.
Patience is our beautiful copper-pot still and was designed specially to our requirements. She was created by the craftsmen of Christian Carl, a family run business near Stuttgart, Germany, who have been manufacturing distillery equipment since 1869. We like to keep things small to achieve the best quality, so Patience only has a 300 litre capacity. She is designed to be flexible with the ability to adapt to the different production requirements for gin, vodka and other spirits as desired.
In order to make our gin, neutral grain spirit is added to the copper pot along with traditional plant-based botanicals including - amongst others - juniper, coriander and cassia along with softened Kentish water. The mixture is heated for several hours to release the distinctive flavours of the botanicals into the alcohol.
We then slowly distil, and the vapour containing the optimum flavours passes through into the botanical basket. It is in the botanicals basket where our specially selected handpicked local Kentish botanicals are waiting to be gently infused by the vapours, creating a sensual aromatic delight, unique to our creation. This exquisite fusion of flavours is then passed through a rectification column, making it wonderfully smooth, before being cooled and transformed into the divine elixir that is Anno Kent Dry Gin.
Anno have selected a blend of botanicals which include some of the more traditional gin flavours in combination with our traditionally Kentish botanicals for our Kent Dry Gin; Hops, Lavender, Rosehips, Elderflower and Camomile and Samphire from Romney Marsh. We use a specially selected blend of different aromatic Kentish hops. Kent has been famous for growing hops for English beer for centuries and the iconic Oast House where the hops are dried has frequently been used as a Kentish symbol. Kent remained the largest producer of hops in England until as recently as 2003. Unlike the bitterness imparted in beer production, aromatic hops when distilled for our gin have a pleasant, sweet flavour, which lingers in your mouth.
Anno use a unique and exceptional combination of handpicked lavenders from the beautiful purple fields of the Downderry Nursery in the Kentish countryside. Lavender varieties were selected for their exquisite floral notes that create a heavenly smooth and creamy feeling in the mouth as well as a fantastic aroma.
The elderflower is from the flowering elderberry plant (Sambucas) and, though often thought of as quintessentially English, is wide spread in the Northern Hemisphere. It is used in cooking and to produce soft drinks such as elderflower cordial, as well as being added to alcoholic drinks such as Sambuca. Elderflower adds delicately sweet floral notes to our gin.
Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant and form after successful pollination of the flowers. They have many uses in food, for ornamental value and in medicines due to their high vitamin C content. They have a delightfully light, sweet flavour.
Camomile has many common uses including in herbal tea to aid sleep, as an anti-inflammatory in cosmetics and to aid the enhancement of blonde hair. It has a mild, clean, floral flavour with subtle fruity hints.
Samphire is an edible plant that has grown in the coastal regions of Kent for centuries. An area of Kent reclaimed from the sea has been named Samphire Hoe after the plant and Shakespeare cliff in Dover is thought to have been named due to the mention of samphire collection in the play King Lear “Half-way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!” (Act IV, Scene VI). Samphire has a salty taste, as you might expect from a plant grown in salt marshes, although once distilled it has a rather pleasant sweetness about it with fresh grassy notes.
Our 602 blend is still a secret I’m afraid, with only the distillers knowing the recipe.