In 2011, our founders Dr Andy Reason and Dr Norman Lewis left behind their roles as scientists to pursue their passion for craft spirits and open Kent's first gin distillery in 200 years. With one eye on the science behind making quality spirits and another on proudly displaying all that their home county of Kent has to offer, they duly created Anno Distillers and began the journey of a lifetime.
Started in Maidstone and now nestled away in the sleepy yet picturesque village of Marden is where the magic happens. While the journey so far has been a story of success, it hasn’t always been plain sailing. In the early days when Andy, Norman and Kim were bubbling with ideas and enthusiasm they had to endure seemingly endless waits, including an arduous 18-month wait for a licence, but the perseverance paid off. As a celebration of this momentous event, we adorned our beloved 300-litre copper pot still with the name ‘Patience’ as a tribute to those challenging times.
Patience stands proudly as the centrepiece at our distillery, gleaming in all her copper beauty, and every one of Anno’s delicious spirits is still made in her to this day. Since those early days we’ve continued apace to accumulate much praise from both fans and experts alike, culminating in some outstanding recognition at various awards. We’re extremely proud of each one we’ve received, including Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards.
So how have we achieved such success? Unlike many distillers, our founders’ life-long science background gives us a practical understanding of the equipment capabilities, allowing us to make the highest quality products. We utilise our skills to craft products designed for your pleasure, full of both intense flavours and subtle notes. But perhaps most of all, each and every one of our employees has a real passion for what we do, helping to ensure that each bottle is bursting with our famous flavours.
Andy and Norman are also malt whisky lovers with a dream of making one of their own. Keeping true to their links to Kent they came up with a plan and initiated a joint venture to create the first ever to be made in the county of Kent. The mash was fermented by Westerham Brewery and then the wash was distilled by Anno in Marden, with the exclusive cask being filled in May 2015. There, the single cask remained untouched, the spirit maturing and developing its new characteristics. In 2018 the resting spirit officially became whisky and, following a tasting by owners of the two companies (Andy, Norman and Robert), they were encouraged to release this young whisky.
In March 2020, the world faced a new challenge as COVID-19 moved in and altered all of our lives. Anno were quick to pivot and start producing Anno Alcohol Hand Rub (sanitiser), using our scientific knowledge and equipment to supply a safe and affordable product in a time of need.
In late 2020 we had perhaps our most amazing achievement to date, gaining recognition and fame on a global scale, thanks to our release of Anno Extreme 95. Named for its strength, our 95% abv (190 proof) spirit put us at the forefront of gin making as it is the strongest gin available to buy anywhere in the world today. Although it does indeed pack an “Extreme” punch, we didn’t compromise on flavour, and fans of our range will recognise many of the excellent flavours and subtle hints that they’ve come to know and love from our other spirits. Best of all, we gave a nod to our scientific roots and the intricate experimenting that had to go into perfecting this amazing feat, with a handy scientific beaker being included with every purchase so that you can get that perfect pour every time at home.