Porthilly Spirit Distillery releases first four "Cornish-inspired" spirits

A new distillery, based in north Cornwall, has launched its first small-batch spirits.

Porthilly Spirit Distillery’s family of drinks is the culmination of two years of development and collaboration with a team of master distillers.

The first four spirits released are Cornish Coastal Gin, Cornish Vodka, Golden Rum and Dark Rum, all inspired by the Cornish coastline and the sea beyond. Flavours and botanicals include wild sea pink, nettle, sea samphire, and Cornish sea salt.

Distillery founder Will Herrmann said: “We are on a mission to put regional provenance at the centre of spirit distillation, and show it’s possible to create beautiful spirits with nature, not against it - distilling from scratch using locally-available ingredients.

“Our ethos is influenced by the verdant fields and footpaths which surround our farm, and the shoreline and estuary below it. We aspire to keep learning, and to create drinks which capture a sense of place and are a seasonal expression of the land and sea.

“We have collaborated with exceptional master distillers on these first small batches, in order to set ourselves on a path to building our own distillery at Trefresa Farm, as part of a wider regeneration project. We will be creating spirits amongst the very fields in which the idea was first conceived.”

All of the spirits are crafted in handmade 200 litre copper stills, using 100% British sugar beet and pure Cornish spring water.

Porthilly Spirit Cornish Coastal Gin (42% abv, 70cl RRP £39) uses wild botanicals to “capture the essence of the land and sea”, including sea pink and samphire which grow on the craggy cliffs, and salt harvested from the south Cornish coast.

Porthilly Spirit Cornish Vodka (40% abv, 70cl RRP £39) is a “vibrant, clean vodka” created for mixing in cocktails or enjoying on its own. It has a creamy mouthfeel and a subtle anise aftertaste.

Porthilly Spirit Golden Rum (40% abv, 70cl RRP £39) is distilled from a wine made from fermented sugar beet molasses. The rum has a light golden tone, and notes of vanilla, tobacco, and salt caramel.

Porthilly Spirit Dark Rum (42% abv, 70cl RRP £41) also begins as a wine made from fermented sugar beet molasses, before being distilled and blended with pure Cornish spring water. It is then aged for one year in French oak Beaujolais casks. The result is a deep, brown tone, with rich notes of dried fruit, vanilla, tobacco, and salt caramel.

As the farm is restored, Herrmann will follow the approach of regenerative agriculture, with ingredients and botanicals for distillation grown on-site. The farming and grazing practices deployed will rebuild organic soil matter, and restore the biodiversity of soil, plant, and animal life at the farm.

He said: “The environment and the long-term health of the planet and people has never been more important for any generation. This is a new path for us and one that we are excited to share.”

Work will begin on building the distillery at the farm this year, as part of a wider regeneration project. In the coming years, Trefresa Farm will become a community hub and culinary destination, underpinned by the ethos of quality, provenance, and sustainability. The project will create a significant amount of local employment, with apprenticeships and training programmes available for young people.

He said: “We envisage Trefresa Farm and Porthilly Spirit Distillery being an open forum and hub for people who are passionate about the same issues as us. A space for them to gather, discuss their own ideas, learn from us and each other, and collaborate.”

During the Covid-19 crisis, £2 from every bottle sold via the distillery’s website will be donated to Cornwall Community Kitchen, a new initiative which provides meals for those in need.

The drinks are available via the distillery website and in select stores across the south west.

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