Published: 11:30, 19 August 2019
| Updated: 11:31, 19 August 2019
A start-up distillery headed by a husband and wife has joined forces with a conservation charity to create a new Kent-based gin.
The Maidstone Distillery has launched a partnership with Plantlife and is using foraged ingredients from the charity's flagship nature reserve in Cuxton in its new product.
Sam and Darren Graves were granted permission last month to change the premises in Market Buildings, Maidstone, from what was a hairdressers into a working distillery and bar.
The couple have pledged to bring back the County Town's rich heritage of gin and distilling, which became an international phenomenon in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The recipe for this new gin - Ranscombe Wild - is experimenting with extracts of beech leaves, poppy seeds and red clover - all sourced from the nature reserve where they grow abundantly.
It is designed to be a celebration of the Kent countryside's wildflowers, and a donation from every bottle sold will go to Plantlife to help its vital conservation work.
The business says the foraging for the botanicals, which could include poppy seeds, calamint and wild marjoram, will be conducted sustainably, taking only as much as the distillery needs.
It will also only be species that grow in abundance which are picked, and only the parts of the plant that are needed, such as the leaves or the heads of the plant, will be taken.
Maidstone Distillery co-founder Sam Graves said: “We are honoured to be partnering with Plantlife to produce a gin that will champion the conservation of our precious wild flowers in the countryside – working with a local botanical specialist at Ranscombe to understand some of these floral gems has been an eye opener and we are really proud of what we have achieved."
Richard Moyse, Plantlife’s Ranscombe Farm reserve manager, added: “We need to rebuild our relationships with our wonderful wild plants – and foraging sustainably for natural ingredients can be a great way of doing this.
"So we are very pleased to be partnering Maidstone Distillery to help create a gin which will give a real taste of Plantlife’s flagship Ranscombe Farm Reserve.”