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Maidstone Distillery project looking to set up in Market Buildings as bosses submit planning application

Plans for a new distillery, celebrating Maidstone's rich gin history, have moved a step closer after bosses revealed the location of the proposed site.

Darren Graves, who is leading the project, said a planning application was being submitted this week to turn the unit in Market Buildings, formerly home to Urban Escape hairdressers, into the gin distillery.

Production of the spirit in the county town was famous across the world during the 18th and 19th centuries and nods will be made to its heritage at the new venue, which is hoped to open in a matter of months.

A new Gin Distillery is proposed at Market Buildings, Maidstone. Picture: Sean Aidan
A new Gin Distillery is proposed at Market Buildings, Maidstone. Picture: Sean Aidan

Proposals, which were first unveiled earlier this year, are set to include a visitor centre, plus a bar for customers to sample some of the local gin and in future could see up to 20 jobs created.

The new venture will join a range of popular gin makers in Kent including Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham, which opened in 2017, and Anno Distillers in Marden, which launched a pop-up shop in Bluewater for the first time this Christmas.

The small Maiden Distillery also exists in the county town, but only offers mini visits to the public once per month.

Mr Graves said: "It's been a big hurdle getting here but there's been a great reaction from the community.

Darren Graves who is opening a distillery in Maidstone. Picture: Chris Davey. (6316749)
Darren Graves who is opening a distillery in Maidstone. Picture: Chris Davey. (6316749)

"The still which we are going to use is due to arrive shortly and we're now working with interior designers on how we want the layout to look.

"There's going to bee a bar area, a small shop and an experience room where people can visit and learn about distilling and the local history.

"We've got to refine all that over the next few weeks, but we're keen for it to have an industrial look, with a premium feel to it."

Mr Graves, a dad-of-three who lives in Bearsted, hopes the proposals will be rubber-stamped by the council in around eight weeks' time, with a view to opening the site to the public later this year.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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