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Industry News, Views and Opinions

Industry News, Views and Opinions

Welcome to Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine, the online platform dedicated to supporting and promoting artisan and hand-crafted drinks producers, and anyone operating in this dynamic sector of the UK economy.

Sensational sour beers

Founded in 2002 by home-brewers Kjetil Jikiun and Gunnar Wiig in Grimstad, Norway, the Nøgne Ø brewery has established itself as a cornerstone of the craft beer movement, as Trygve Instefjord, an independent food writer based in Norway, explains. Named after the old Norse term for “naked island” symbolising uncharted territory, Nøgne Ø embodies an […]

Carpathian celebrations

The familiar saying: “an old head on young shoulders” usually refers to someone who has experience beyond their years. However, the quote perfectly describes Carpathian Single Malt Whisky – a premium Romanian brand celebrating only its second anniversary, but making waves across the whisky-drinking world, as Ramy James Salameh, Carpathian’s UK PR consultant explains. Romania’s […]

Triple success for Warwickshire distiller

A Warwickshire distiller is celebrating triple awards success on the international stage after drinks from its gin, rum and vodka ranges were all recognised. Warwickshire Gin Company has scooped gold for its Kingmaker Vodka in the prestigious International Wine & Spirits Competition, along with bronze for both its signature gin – Leamington on Parade – […]

Going for gold

Revival Rum was awarded double gold at the 24th annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition, which took place in early April, following on from its success at the London Spirits Competition, where the rum won a gold medal. The awards are a remarkable achievement for master distiller James Singlehurst, who only started producing the Caribbean-inspired […]

Taste of paradise

According to various reports published in recent years, the demand for rum in the UK is set to continue to grow. An article published by The Spirits Business in 2022 reported that: “The UK is the third-largest rum market in the world and is valued at £1.17 billion (US$1.47bn), according to a new report by […]

Driven to succeed

And, it’s good news for Independent breweries and distilleries based in London who have recently switched to carbon-neutral courier, Packfleet. Many of those who have signed up to the new delivery service were frustrated with unreliable delivery companies. Packfleet boasts an impressive track record of reliability (0.07% failure rate), backed-up with a £1,000 refund guarantee […]

High West Distillery, Wanship, Utah, UT, winter, bourbon, rye, double rye, whiskey, new labels

Go West

When running a drinks magazine, along with being sent myriad press releases, you also get invited to a growing number of product launches, tastings and industry events. The most recent invitation came from High West Distillery’s UK PR agency who had organised a product launch that we were invited to. Unfortunately, we didn’t think we […]

What’s your poison?

Fresh to market is Toxin, a new range of social media-driven drinks aimed at students and the young adult market. The new brand is a joint venture between instagram and TikTok influencer, Rufus Rice, and The East Coast Cocktail Company. When celebrities or high profile personalities launch their own products, fame will only get you […]

Success in San Francisco

Carpathian Single Malt Whisky, the first Romanian single malt whisky in the Carpathian Mountains region, produced by the Alexandrion Group in Bucov, Romania, impressed the judges at the recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) 2024.  The double gold medal was awarded to Vradiano Cask Finish, which scored 98 points – an incredible achievement for […]

Brilliantly simple

The OST Tipple Top Drinks Measure (TTDM) is a remarkably simple and unique concept. The essence of the product is a 25ml measure that has been incorporated into stylish bottle tops, which have been designed to replace those supplied with bottles of spirits. David Ostick, the product designer, wanted to create something that would help […]

Best of both worlds

On Saturday 4 May VA Distilleries, a renowned Sri Lankan distillery, will be launching a range of spirits at the Best Western Premier Dover Marina Hotel & Spa. This will be the first time that that VA Distilleries’ products will be available in the UK, which include VA King Coconut Vodka, North Coast Arrack and […]

Bateman’s World Hop Tour

2024 marks Batemans Brewery’s 150th anniversary and during the year various celebrations, events and initiatives have been launched, including The World Hop Tour. The World Hop Tour comprises a range of limited edition beers that is being produced using a variety of hops and styles of production from across the globe – underpinned by the […]

London Wine Competition results

The results of the seventh international London Wine Competition, which took place on 18/19 March, are now in. The competition has become established as the world’s most relevant wine competition, where wines are judged on their quality, value and packaging.; the professional panel of judges included some of the most esteemed and highly-regarded professionals in […]

The art of the rebrand

We were approached by the UK-based PR agency looking after Belgian Owl, a Belgian distillery based in the region of Hesbaye, producing a range of authentic, Scottish-inspired whiskies.  The focus of the agency’s approach was that the distillery had undergone a major rebrand and we were invited to run the story. We agreed and we […]

Handmade heaven

When asked if we wanted to sample some handmade Belgian chocolate truffles, filled with a delicious chocolate ganache and Warwickshire Gin Company’s very own gins and rums, the answer was unequivocal: ‘yes’. The stunning truffles are a collaboration between two south Warwickshire businesses – Warwickshire Gin Company and Dale’s Handmade Ltd. The gin truffles, made […]

Best rum in South Africa

Lebogang Mooka, the founder of Mooka Rum explains why she entered the London Spirits Competition and the positive impact it has had on her business. Mooka Rum was launched in August 2022, manufactured and produced by one of South African’s best distilleries called Earthbound Distillery. I initially wanted to do gin, however after doing some […]

Thornbridge triumphs

At the recent SIBA Awards, Bakewell-based Thornbridge Brewery was recognised in four main categories, including being named as Brewery Business of the Year. in the Commercial Achievement category the brewery was a finalist; their online shop was highly commended and the company was also named as the winner of the Best Collaboration award. The collaboration […]

Double gold for Hogs Back

Surrey-based Hogs Back Brewery is raising a celebratory glass after gold medal wins in two prestigious beer competitions for its Little Swine 0.5% ABV pale ale. Golds for Little Swine 0.5% in both the European Beer Challenge and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) National Independent Beer Awards are testament to the Hogs Back brewing […]

Back to the future

When Purity Brewing Company, the award-winning brewery based in Warwickshire, announced a historic licensing partnership with English Heritage, we were intrigued. Having contacted their PR agency, as we had already covered the news of this unique partnership, a box of six beers arrived at the office and appetites were whetted. The range comprises a 4% […]

Profits up, but uncertainties remain

A recent report has found that whilst profits have increased for drinks manufacturers, many are still treading water amid an uncertain future. The report found that drinks manufacturers generated £1.51 for every pound invested in inventory in Q4 2023 – up from £1.40 in Q3 2023. This compared to an industry average of £2.33 across […]

Batemans brewery celebrates 150 years in business

Batemans Brewery’s new look

2024 is the year that Batemans Brewery celebrates 150 years in business, and along with the wider company celebrations, the directors decided to refresh the company’s branding and pump clips. The company, which has been a continuous presence in the village of Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, started from humble beginnings in 1874. For 150 years the company […]

Underneath the arches

A popular local event organised by four artisan businesses in Leamington Spa, including two breweries and a distillery, is to take place every month through the spring and summer, to celebrate the historic part of their town.  The events, branded as Arches Day, are free to attend and include live musicians and DJ sets, with […]

Wind in their sails

Windmill Hill Brewery, the multi award-winning micro-brewery based in Leamington Spa has opened a new taproom marking the latest chapter of their journey. The owners are looking forward to welcoming visitors to the new-look venue, situated underneath the arches at Victoria Business Park, which has been transformed with new custom booth seating, a six-line keg […]

Tasty award

An entrepreneur who walked away from a successful career in 2018, is celebrating his gin distillery becoming the ‘Number One Thing To Do In Leamington Spa’ on TripAdvisor. Warwickshire Gin Company’s tasting experiences have shot to the envied top spot thanks to 80 five-star reviews from visitors. It has also made its mark with foreign […]

Brew//LDN 2024

Brew//LDN is the UK’s largest craft beer and cider festival, which will welcome over 10,000 guests, including 3,000 trade guests over two dedicated trade sessions. The location for the UK’s biggest craft beer festival, which will take place from 25-27 April, is Between the Bridges on London’s Southbank – a first for the event. Brew//LDN […]

Abelon toasts the London Competitions

Abelon — an organic grape spirit — is a 100% certified organic distillate of a single variety of hand-harvested grapes and produced in a micro-distillery in Greece. Distilled in copper alembic stills, in optimum conditions, the resulting distillate has an unparalleled flavour and distinct aroma; it is then aged in new French oak casks, tailored […]

Honey, I shrunk the gin!

At Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine we hear about new product launches all the time and we’re fortunate to be on the mailing list for an increasing number of producers and marketing agencies; we receive beers, wines and spirits that come in all shapes and sizes. But, we’ve never received a drink that has been reduced […]

Boost for Badger Beers

Outland, the craft beer range from leading independent brewer Badger Beers, is going to be stocked at 400 Tesco stores from mid-February. The deal, covering three beers from the range, is a major fillip for Outland’s brand awareness, which includes the first ever off-trade listing for their West Coast IPA. The three beers to be […]

Supporting local producers

Peak Ales, the Peak District-based brewery, was chosen by the owners of The Cupola – a new heritage centre, licensed kitchen and gift ship – to produce their own label beer and gin. Colin and Alison Hall, who recently launched The Cupola, built in their home Peak District village of Stoney Middleton, are keen to […]

Quite unusual

The first thing you think of when you mention Scotland, in relation to drinks, is whisky, and for obvious reasons. With over 150 distilleries producing some of the finest whiskies in the world, there’s a good reason for this hand-in-glove association.   So, when we were sent details of a gin produced in Scotland and, […]

History in the making

Award-winning Warwickshire brewer, Purity Brewing Company, has announced a historic licensing partnership with English Heritage. In what is one of the company’s biggest partnerships in recent times, Purity Brewing Company has launched its English Heritage Collection – a trio of Best Bitter, Organic Craft Lager and Low Alcohol Pale Ale – part of a shared […]

In their own words

For companies looking to enter the 2024 London Competitions, they can rest assured that they are going to be part of an annual event that it putting drinks companies from across the globe firmly on the map. The organisers of the competition have compelling arguments for those who haven’t yet entered, but having conducted research […]

Mixing it up in Glasgow

One of Scotland’s up-and-coming gin brands, Shipyard Gin, has announced a new collaboration with El Santo Latin American Bar & Restaurant in Glasgow. Shipyard Gin was launched in October 2021 by Glaswegian wedding filmmaker, Andy Samuel, and less than a year later his gin was winning awards. It is now available at several of Worq […]

150 years of beers

2024 is an important year for Bateman’s Brewery, one of the few completely independent family breweries in England. 150 years ago the company was established at Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, where it continues to produce its range of fine ales and beers. In 1874, when George Bateman first started his business in what was then a rented […]

Inspirational Pale Ale

Surrey-based One Planet Brewing Co has launched its first beer made using 100% solar power generated on site. The eco-friendly brewer makes all its beer using solar panels to generate enough electricity to power all its brewing activities. One Planet Brewing is a 15-hectolitre brewery, which launched with an initial investment of £250,000 from Hogs […]

Super smooth brandy

We were delighted to have received a bottle of St-Rémy’s Signature brandy, which was launched in 2020 as the new face of brandy. Presented in a new shaped transparent bottle, St-Rémy Signature was developed by the company’s master blender, Cécile Roudaut. The brandy is taken through two stages of maturation in both new oak and […]

Early bird offer ends 20 December

The London Competitions recognise the best spirits, wine and beer brands in the UK, Europe and beyond. Although the super early bird discounts have since ended, their early bird discounts are available until midnight on 20 December, so don’t delay in entering your products entered and be a part of three competitions that help brands […]

Not just another gin

The launch of another gin, in an increasingly crowded market, wouldn’t usually make the news, but this could be a first – a hop-infused gin. Emperor Gin Dry Hopped Gin has been created by the Warwickshire Gin Company, based in Leamington Spa, together with Great Alne-based Purity Brewing Company. Their unique collaboration has produced a […]

Smooth single malts

The process of ageing and maturing spirits in previously used barrels dates back hundreds of years, but was more than likely discovered by chance when new products were transported in old barrels, resulting in the new liquid taking on some of the characteristics of its original wine or spirit. Over the centuries the process of […]

No competition

If you want to get your wines, beers and spirits In front of real trade buyers you should consider entering the 2024 London Competitions. As a media partner of the London Competitions – comprising the London Spirits Competition, the London Beer Competition and the London Wine Competition – it would be easy to write an […]

New cask aged rum

Warwickshire-based Shakespeare Distillery has launched the first of their long-awaited cask aged Jester rums. The much-anticipated first release has been aged for 30 months in an ex-Buffalo Trace bourbon cask and bottled at 48% ABV for maximum flavour. This special product is limited to just 415 individually-numbered bottles. In April 2021 the independent spirit producer […]

Storm clouds brewing over migrants

Earlier today, Monday 4 December, Home Secretary James Cleverly announced measures to try to limit legal migration into the UK. His proposals, which are unlikely to be welcomed by many sectors of the economy, include increasing the minimum salary of those seeking entry to our labour market to just under £38,000. This is very likely […]

Hoppy Christmas

Hogs Back Brewery is getting ready for Christmas with the production of three festive beers, now available from the Brewery Shop and Tap, as well as pubs in the Tongham area. For anyone after some festive fun in the brewery, their ‘Winter Wonderland’ nights will run throughout December, where customers can enjoy delicious food, excellent […]

Praise for the London Competitions

Headlands Distilling Company started from humble beginnings, when in early 2015 – and with nothing more than a collective goal to produce hand-crafted spirits – four good friends founded Wollongong’s first distillery, in New South Wales, Australia. Having overcome numerous setbacks and challenges, the founders’ positive attitude  and they launched their first product: Seacliff Vodka […]

Sky Wave’s brand new look

Sky Wave, the award-winning small batch distillery based in Oxfordshire, has unveiled a bold new brand identity and stylish new bottle design. Since launching in 2019 Sky Wave has been committed to their craft, with an unwavering dedication to innovation. The result is a growing portfolio of award-winning gins, including their original gin – Sky […]

Mixed response to Autumn Statement

The Autumn Statement, issued on 22 November by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, received a mixed response from the leisure and hospitality sector. As both statements show, the Chancellor could have done much more to support both drinks producers, hit by recent increases in duty paid on alcohol, and the licensed trade, which is losing […]

Mixing it up with Mocktology

The founders of start-up company, Mocktology, have combined the science of mocktails and how our senses react to flavours. In 2017 Rehana Choudhry and Shivali Lakhani started experimenting with the development of a range of alcohol-free syrups that would be used to make mocktails. The launch of their company was delayed by Covid-19 and the […]

Success in London

Located between the Drava River and the slopes of the Bilogora mountains of Croatia is the small town of Pitomača, where MAMM Distillery produces award-winning brandy. The family-owned business produces traditional Croatian fruit brandy, made with quinces and plums sourced from their own orchards and local producers. After the first distillation the soft brandy is […]

Buxton Brewery’s boost

Buxton Brewery has announced the appointment of three key executives who will lead the business and play a pivotal role in delivering ambitious plans for this successful independent brewery. Rob Topham joined the company in August as technical director; he will oversee production at the brewery’s Staden Lane brewing facility in Buxton, Derbyshire. With an […]

Inflation rate down

Commenting the recent fall in the UK’s inflation rate, Ed Bignold, head of travel, hospitality and leisure at UK-based management consultants, Alvarez & Marsal, said: “Data from the ONS shows that inflation is finally heading in the right direction in the restaurant and hotel sector, with inflation down to 7.6% in October from 8.6% in […]

Australian distiller goes for gold

As one of the media partners of the London Spirits Competition, we have been interviewing a number of people who represent companies whose products were winners at this year’s competition. This is an interview with Gordon Chalmers, head distiller and co-owner of Tamborine Mountain Distillery, Queensland, Australia. When asked for his opinion of the London […]

Time to chill

Enviro-Cool, an innovative refrigeration technology company, has launched V-Tex, a game-changing technology that chills cans and bottles on demand.  Since launching in 2000 it has been Enviro-Cool’s mission to develop technology and products that rapidly chill beverages at the point of sale or consumption. Based in Wapping, East London, the British company has patented technology […]

Invest in self-sufficiency

Collective Motion Brewing, a brewery equipment specialist, is experiencing a surge in demand from independent breweries investing in their facilities to increase their self-sufficiency and reduce running costs. The Bradford-based company has received orders from breweries across the UK who are upgrading and expanding their own brewing facilities and harnessing technology to eliminate the expense […]

Visit IBWSS London

The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show (IBWSS) is an annual trade show and conference, developed specifically for trade professionals. IBWSS visitors are buyers looking for suppliers to meet their demand for bulk wines, bulk spirits, private label programs, grape buying or contract manufacturing. International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show is organised by Beverage Trade […]

Hand Picked wines

Expert sommelier, Louise Gordon, has joined Hand Picked Hotels to continue to strengthen its food and drink credentials. Hand Picked Hotels is a collection of 21 privately owned, luxury country houses and coastal retreats, founded in 2001 by owner, chairman and CEO, Julia Hands MBE.  As the company’s first head of wine, Louise will oversee […]

Don’t worry, be hoppy

November 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of Hop Hideout, an award-winning Sheffield-based beer shop and tasting room. Owned by Jules Gray, Hop Hideout is one of just a handful of female-owned beer shops in the country. Jules has planned a weekend of celebrations starting on Friday 10 November, which will include the launch of their Thornbridge […]

Tequila is just the tonic

The owners of El Santo, a Glasgow bar and restaurant, are celebrating the recent tie-up with Patron Tequila, the world’s leading premium tequila brand. Every live music event that takes place at El Santo – a Latin American-themed 90-seater restaurant with a discreet speakeasy bar (El Santito) – will now be supported by Patron Tequila. […]

Vodka that hits the mark

Before you even take the first sip of Kingmaker Vodka – a premium of 41% ABV British vodka produced by the award-winning Warwickshire Gin Company – you sense you’re in for a treat. The confident brand messaging starts with the elegant, elongated octagonal glass bottle with a short, straight neck and over-sized stopper. The black […]

Make a great impression

Labelnet, a trusted name in the world of self-adhesive labels for over two decades, has announced an exciting addition to their range of services. With over 24 years of expertise in the field of self-adhesive label printing, Labelnet is committed to delivering cutting-edge labelling solutions to clients across various industries. Their latest offer comprises three […]

Knock-out rums

The Warwickshire Gin Company, an award-winning distillery based in Leamington Spa, has turned its distilling prowess to producing three new rums under The Pugilist brand: White Rum, Spiced Blended Rum and Honey Rum.  After going a few rounds with the three varieties, there was no overall winner and we declared a tie. The White Rum […]

Single malt success

Carpathian Single Malt Whisky’s Cognac, Ruby Port and Amarone expressions took gold at the recent World Whisky Masters 2023 in the UK, whilst Fetească Neagră, Madeira, Burgundy, Commandaria and Vradiano were awarded silver. At the International Spirits Challenge (UK) Fetească Neagră & Cognac expressions all took bronze, as did their Oloroso expression at the International […]

Hidden Sea reveals RTD spritz range

The Hidden Sea has just launched a new ready-to-drink (RTD) range comprising Spritz Rosé and Spritz Pinot Grigio, available in cans across the UK. The new range will join its wider range of vegan wines, including a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rosé, Shiraz and Red Blend – in a drive to actively remove plastic from the […]

Packaging that delivers

Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine is primarily here to support the artisan and hand-crafted drinks sector, but we’re also delighted to support those companies that in turn support the increasing numbers of independent producers across the UK. One such company is Printed Paper Tubes, which for over 30 years has been producing a wide range of […]

Collaboration is key

Tomasz Lenartowicz, a director at Collective Motion Brewing, explains how brewers can collaborate to serve the collective cause in addressing climate change. The company launched in 2022 to support brewers in the design, development, management and maintenance of their breweries and equipment. Following a summer in which record temperatures across Europe have focused minds on […]

Boxing clever

Warwickshire Gin Company, an award-winning distillery based in Leamington Spa, is throwing its weight behind the expansion of a local community boxing gym, which prides itself on producing champion fighters. The good sports at the Warwickshire distillery have become long-term sponsors of Cleary’s Boxing Gym following the recent opening of its new £100,000 premises, to […]

Balblair comes of age

Balblair, the renowned Highland single malt Scotch distillery, famous for its unrivalled collection of extraordinary single malts, has just unveiled its crowning jewel: the highly anticipated release of their 21-year-old expression. This permanent addition to the Balblair portfolio represents the pinnacle of their craftsmanship with six years of further maturation in Spanish oak barrels. 21 […]

Fares please!

A Warwickshire gin company has acquired the Cocktail Tours company based in Tewkesbury to take its unique concept on the road for the first time. It marks the start of an exciting new journey for That Gin Company brand, which started out as That Gin & Cocktail Bar in Warwick. The converted double-decker Cocktail Tours […]

A warm welcome awaits

I didn’t know that Dunfermline was the capital of Scotland until 1452 or that the city — as it became in 2022 (part of the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations) — has so much to offer locals and visitors, alike.  During my recent visit I visited Dunfermline Abbey, which was built on the site of […]

Dunfermline on the map

There are many reasons to visit Dunfermline, a town that was conferred city status in October 2022 by King Charles III — part of the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The city, which was the capital of Scotland until 1452, has much to offer locals and visitors, alike. There’s Dunfermline Abbey, which was built on […]

New wines from Andrew Peace

Andrew Peace has expanded its UK portfolio of Australian wines, with six new product lines. The entire range will also benefit from two design propositions – Andrew Peace Black Label and Andrew Peace White Label – distributed by Kingsland Drinks. Andrew Peace Black Label includes two new lower ABV wines: Shiraz (11%) and Chardonnay (11%), […]

Shanky’s success down under

Irish Whiskey liqueur, Shanky’s Whip, has signed a new distribution deal with global drinks distributor Amber Beverage Group, a move which signals the brand’s increasingly global appeal Shanky’s Whip is distilled in County Cavan and then blended and bottled by Shanky and Shireman in Ireland. The whiskey liqueur is perfectly positioned to bridge the gap […]

London Competitions update

Sid Patel, the CEO of the London Competitions, has the latest news of the 2024 competitions encompassing spirits, wine and beer. I am delighted to provide an update on some exciting features we are introducing at the London Competitions in 2024 and how we plan to give more value to our entrants. In our recent […]

16 steps to beer heaven

A family of entrepreneurs from Warwick have taken their first steps into hospitality with their new craft beer bar and shop, which recently opened in the centre of the town. Paul and Jacqui Brown, together with their sons Harvey and Regan, have launched The Craftsman, a bar that celebrates and promotes the artisan and craft […]

Hotel branches out

Keen to increase its portfolio of local, artisan suppliers, The Red House Hotel, based in the small Perthshire town of Coupar Angus, has announced that it is now stocking award-winning Lost Orchards Cider. The cidery was established in 2019 by fourth generation farmer, Andrew Husband and his business partner, Angus Morrison. The cider is produced […]

Success for Dalmore Gin

Four years ago, Dalmore Gin was created for Alan Bannerman, the owner of The Dalmore Inn & Restaurant, by the team at Persie – the renowned distillers based in the Bridge of Colly, Perthshire. Dalmore Gin is available at the Blairgowrie-based inn and restaurant, along with Alan Bannerman’s two other venues: The Red House Hotel […]

Beer Dad’s relaunch

Beer Dad, one of the newest names in the craft beer subscription industry, has announced the launch of their new website and their highly anticipated “All Killer No Filler” craft beer subscription service. This revamped offering promises to deliver the latest and freshest releases from top-rated independent craft and artisan brewers, whilst offering exceptional value […]

Shaken and stirred

Here at Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine we get to sample and review a wide range of drinks, including a variety of fine spirits. We only ever taste spirits without mixers, so that our reviews are based entirely on the quality of the unadulterated product. So, when we were sent a selection of cocktails from Jack […]

As good as gold

Scotland’s all-female brew team celebrated their success at the recent World Beer Awards. Amy Cockburn and Lisa Matthews from Harviestoun Brewery in Clackmannanshire scooped the top global accolade for the brewery’s iconic craft lager, Schiehallion (pronounced she-hal-ion), which takes its name from the well-known Perthshire mountain.  Schiehallion won the Gold award in the Classic Pilsner […]

Brewery’s can do attitude

Surrey-based Hogs Back brewery is putting its flagship beer, Tongham TEA (Traditional English Ale), into cans as part of the company’s commitment to brew more sustainably, while also broadening the brand’s appeal. Tongham TEA is a 4.2% ABV, full-bodied bitter, which was the first beer brewed by Hogs Back when the brewery opened in 1992; […]

Mead in heaven

Mead is one those drinks that we’ve all probably heard about, but never tasted, and don’t really know what it is. Mead is a drink that is brewed using honey in the fermentation process and its history can be traced back over 10,000 years when it was first produced in China. Centuries later, the Greeks […]

A zest for life

Here at Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine we get sent a wide selection of products to sample, which helps us keep up to date with the latest trends in the drinks industry. Flavoured gins have become very popular in recent years and it’s hard to keep track of all the new flavours and boasts of ‘unique’ […]

In the pink

Sustainable soft drinks producer, Marlish Waters, is expanding its range of canned-at-source spring waters, with the launch of Marlish Sparkling Pink Grapefruit. It is low in calories (7 kCal per can), but packed full of flavour, Marlish Sparkling Pink Grapefruit Spring Water combines the finest pink grapefruit extracts and oils with Marlish’s Spring Water, to […]

Badger’s fresh new look

Leading independent brewer Badger Beers is launching a range of characterful new designs for its range of premium bottled ales, with packs set to appear in various retail outlets in August. Initially, seven of Badger’s top-selling premium ales will feature the new design, including newly-launched coffee stout, called Master Stoat, with more to follow, including […]

Here comes summer

Shakespeare Distillery has announced the launch a new limited-edition Kaffir Lime & Orange Gin, which delivers a refreshing blend of citrus flavours. The team at the independent artisan spirit producer enjoy experimenting with different flavours to create delicious new spirits, which they regularly release as special editions in limited quantities. To create this new gin […]

MAD for art

Three British artists are at the forefront of an innovative and unique range of craft spirits that reproduces their artwork on bottle labels. Modern Art Distillery (MAD) has launched a new line of flavoured gin, vodka and rum featuring paintings by new and emerging artists from across the country, with a first series that includes […]

One-way kegs launch

Based in Antwerp, Belgium, Dolium – a worldwide leader in one-way packaging solutions – has announced its partnership with the Bristol-based Rawlings Group for distribution of its one-way kegs in the UK, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Dolium, which was founded in 2013, offers a user friendly, cost-efficient and sustainable alternative to stainless steel […]

Success for Scottish brewery

Harviestoun Brewery is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a national roll-out campaign, which launches on National Beer Day (15 June). Based in Alva, near Stirling, Harviestoun has been brewing in the shadow of the Ochil Hills since 1983, long before craft beer became popular in Scotland. To mark four decades as a pioneering producer and a […]

St Maur conquers America

St Maur elderflower liqueur, which is produced in rural Warwickshire, has been awarded Best in Category, International Liqueurs at the American Distilling Institute International Spirits Competition, which was held in the USA.  The award becomes the latest in a series of prestigious industry accolades for the drink, produced by William and Kelsey Seymour, Earl and […]

Hungry for success

A waitress from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who launched a low-calorie canned cocktail business after losing her job during lockdown, has won 12 months of business mentoring and guidance valued at £50,000 through the Brew//LDN’s Brew//Accelerator programme for aspiring drinks firms. This prize has been supported by leading accountancy firm, Johnston Carmichael. Siobhan Linney, 30, launched Thirsty Gal […]

Twice as good

We were very fortunate to meet the owner of Kinsale Spirit Company during a meet the makers event at the Irish Embassy in London earlier this year, who recently sent us a bottle of their Spanish Earl, Single Malt Irish Whiskey and a bottle of Kinsale Gin, both of which are reviewed in this feature. […]

Some like it hot

Warwick-based That Gin Company, recently sent us a bottle of their fiery gin That Jalapeños, which we looked forward to tasting the moment it arrived.  Here at Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine, we like hot and spicy food, and so we were intrigued when we first heard about this gin to see just how hot it […]

And, the winners are…

This year the People’s Choice Drinks Awards event was bigger than ever. To become a finalist is a great accolade as the competition only awards one winner, one silver and one bronze in each category. All finalists are listed online as well as on the Drinks Finder. To see the winners in each category follow […]

A right royal tribute

To mark the forthcoming coronation of King Charles III, Arkell’s Brewery has released a special dark ale: a smooth, chocolatey, traditional style, dark ale, which is surprisingly easy to drink, brewed using traditional methods in their Victorian brewery. The 4.5% ABV limited edition brew, Coronation Ale, will be available on draught at Arkell’s pubs and […]

Cask ale in demand

Demand for cask ales from Surrey-based Hogs Back Brewery has almost returned to pre-Covid levels, with a number of new pub operators taking its established cask brands and latest additions. Owners of the brewery estimate that they will be supplying 250 more on-trade outlets by the summer, compared to the same period last year. Hogs […]

Coronation Gin launched

Warwickshire-based Shakespeare Distillery has launched a new Coronation Gin ahead of the celebrations around the coronation of King Charles III, which will take place on Saturday 6 May. The team at the independent artisan distillery crafted a completely new dry gin, which has taken inspiration from the Gin and Dubonnet beloved by the late Queen […]

Winning formula

The results of the 2023 London Spirits Competition are finally out. This year a record number of entrants were hoping for the much-coveted bronze, silver, and gold medals. There were around 2000 spirits brands represented, which were sent in from more than 80 countries. The competition prides itself on consistently being assessed by a top […]

North Point’s touchdown

North Point Distillery, based near Thurso, has partnered with Caithness Rugby to produce a very special bottle marking the club’s 60th anniversary. This limited edition release of their London Dry Gin (40% ABV) has been produced in individually numbered 70cl bottles. At North Point Distillery, they create small batches of authentic Scottish spirits, which have […]

Cuvée Argot arrives in the UK

Speciality Brands has launched Waterford Distillery’s single malt Irish whisky, Cuvée Argot, in the UK. The vibrant new whisky, which will be distributed exclusively by Speciality Brands in the UK, brings together several of the brand’s Single Farm Origins for beguiling depth and ultimate complexity with a mere hint of true Irish peat. Argot (pronounced ar-go) is […]

Badger’s new craft beer

Leading independent brewer, Badger Beers, is launching a range of craft beers under an innovative new brand, called Outland. The new beers, available from April, offer drinkers characterful, contemporary tastes, complementing Badger’s existing core range of premium bottled ales.  The launch of Outland is one part of a fundamental shift in attitude at Badger Beers, […]

Anniversary ale trail

2023 is a special year for Arkell’s Brewery, which is celebrating 180 years of continuous brewing at the original site founded by John Arkell. To celebrate this milestone, the family-owned brewery has created an ale trail to encourage drinkers to visit as many Arkell’s pubs as they can, which can be found across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, […]

Brewing up a storm

Timothy Taylor’s, the Keighley-based brewery, has recently released Hopical Storm in a can, which is their first canned beer. The foray into canning reinforces its uncompromising approach to quality and consistency by providing an additional packaging format that suits the brand and opens up availability to a younger audience (of a legal drinking age).  Timothy Taylor’s Hopical […]

Peas in a pod

Purpose-led drinks firm Ten Locks has launched its first own spirit brand: Pod Pea Vodka, a fresh, flavourful spirit made with 100% British peas.  We were recently sent a bottle to sample and everyone in the office was impressed with Pod Pea Vodka (40% ABV), which is made from peas. The smooth vodka imparts a subtle pea flavour, […]

Reduce your energy costs

Dominic Smith, a director at Collective Motion Brewing, offers advice on the steps that brewers can take to reduce their running costs during the on-going energy crisis. The prospect of energy bills substantially increasing from April is a major concern for countless breweries and cider producers. The government has confirmed the next stage of the […]

Hogs Back Little Swine 0.l5%

Zero is the hero

Let’s be honest, until fairly recently the quality of zero and low alcohol beers have been variable to say the least. Some are good, some are passable and others are about as inviting as a bowl of cold dishwater.  A few weeks ago we were sent three bottled beers from Hogs Back Brewery, based in […]

Wolftown’s winning formula

Ulverston-based Wolftown, has won a fourth award for its second gin expression – Wolftown Citrus Gin – at the 2023 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). At this year’s event, which took place during the first two weeks of March, 120 of the world’s leading spirit experts gathered in London to assess over 4,100 entries […]

BRUBL’s triumph

The quality of drinks that are being produced by artisan companies continues to impress and the diversity of those products grows by the week, judging by the number of press releases we receive announcing new companies, products and brands. Here at Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine we only witness a small proportion of the new products, […]

Shaken and stirred

An English earl is celebrating his Brazilian roots as part of a new collaboration that has caused quite a stir in the world of cocktails. William Seymour, Earl of Yarmouth, together with Matthew Hiscoe – owner of Café Cocktail in Stratford-upon-Avon – have created a perfect blend by mixing their skills to create a unique […]

A compelling competition

As one of the media partners of the London Spirits Competition, London Wine Competition and London Beer Competition, it was a pleasure to be invited to meet the organisers and the judges. On Wednesday 22 March, the day the spirits were being judged, I interviewed Sid Patel – the who runs Beverage Trade Network (the company […]

Spice up your life

Surrey-based Hogs Back brewery has extended its Little Swine family of low alcohol beers with the launch of a flavoured craft ale, Little Ginger Swine. With an ABV of 0.5%, and spiced-up with natural ginger extract after brewing, Little Ginger Swine is a full-bodied, flavourful pale ale. It is brewed with four speciality malts and three […]

Sky Wave Zero

Sky Wave Zero is a new, alcohol-free drink distilled with the same innovation and passion we have come to expect from premium spirits brand, Sky Wave Gin. To perfect this new zero-alcohol distilled drink it has taken their master distiller, Andrew Parsons, over eighteen months to develop. Parsons applied the same expertise that has helped […]

Success for pint-sized brewery

The lockdowns of early 2020 forced thousands of businesses to the brink of bankruptcy and nearly 350,000 businesses closed their doors for the last time, including a high proportion of leisure and hospitality companies. Not only were the bars, pubs, hotels and restaurants affected by the lockdowns because they simply could not trade, the producers also […]

New competition deadline

The deadline for this year’s London Wine, Beer, and Spirits Competition (London Competitions) has been extended until Tuesday 28 February, which is great news if you thought you had missed the deadline (originally 22 February), because we know just how much exposure these events can generate and why they should be seriously considered. So, if you’re a drinks […]

Love, share, enjoy

St Maur was first produced for the guests who attended the wedding of the Earl and future Countess of Yarmouth, which took place at Ragley Hall in Alcester. The success of the unique liqueur spurred on the young couple to turn the production of St Maur it into a full-time family business at the start of […]

Ginfinite combinations

A Warwick-based gin bar has launched a unique pick-and-mix concept that allows their customers to choose from over 90 flavours to create their own bespoke gin. Steve Bazell, who owns the bar and devised the new concept, believes that his company has the largest range of flavours, which customers can choose from to create specific and […]

Tickets for awards event

It is now just over a month to go for this year’s People’s Choice Wine Awards, which were launched in 2017 by Janet Harrison of Cracking Wine and Judy Kendrick from JK Marketing. In 2020 the company launched the People’s Choice Spirits Awards. The consumer-friendly categories attract wine and spirits submissions from all over the world, in any […]

Hogs Back Little Swine 0.l5%

New no and low beer family

Surrey-based Hogs Back Brewery has launched Little Swine 0.5% to complement its existing low alcohol beer, Little Swine 2.8%, creating a family of no and low alcohol beers in time for the peak in consumer demand during Dry January.   Little Swine 0.5% has launched in 330ml bottles and will be available in 500ml bottles […]

Inspired by nature

Centuries ago, the Aborigines unlocked the healing power of the eucalyptus tree, which was revered by Australia’s indiginous people. The sacred plant was used to promote health and cleanse, and was part of rituals and ceremonies to cure the spirit. They would crush and soak the eucalyptus leaves in water to create a medicine that they used […]

Carbon neutral distillery

Warwickshire-based Shakespeare Distillery has been certified as carbon neutral after a full-scale carbon dioxide footprint assessment and off-setting programme. The independent artisan spirit producer is working to minimise its environmental impact and become a truly sustainable business.  Over the summer of 2022 the company employed a carbon footprint data analyst. with the support of the […]

A great year

Without a doubt 2022 has been a good year for the Alexandrion Group, which was delighted by the level of interest and positive feedback to their Carpathian Single Malt Whisky – Romania’s first ever single malt whisky. The single malt was launched in the USA in May 2022; it was then officially unveiled at a product […]

UK’s favourite drinks

In December 2022 a survey was conducted by Surrey-based Lunzer Wines to find out about the UK’s drinking habits. They polled 2,000 consumers and found that 75% of adults enjoy an alcoholic drink at least once a week. The results of the survey also found that the UK’s favourite tipple is white wine, along with the following […]

Gin designed for you

Warwick-based That Gin Company, which also owns a cocktail bar, offers customers the chance to create their own flavoured gin. Most artisan and hand-crafted drinks companies will argue, rightly so, that their products are unique, whether it is the ingredients used, the processes employed or a totally new product. But, in the case of That […]

A real gem of a gin

We were recently sent a bottle of Triple Three Gin, produced in South Africa by Triple Three Distillery, which in 2022 won a brace of trophies for its Just Juniper Gin at the prestigious Trophy Spirits Show: the Investec Trophy for Best London Gin and the Riedel Trophy for Best Gin of Show. This was an […]

Making waves in Cornwall

Earlier this month, a microbrewery specialising in hand-crafted beers has landed a haul of regional awards, bringing early festive cheer to one corner of the Cornish coast. The Driftwood Spars Brewery at Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes, won two golds and a silver at the SIBA  (Society of Independent Brewers) Independent Beer Awards, South West region; […]

Christmas cocktail

If you want to offer your customers or friends and family a memorable cocktail this Christmas then look no further than the Partridge and Pear Sour cocktail made with St Maur elderflower liqueur and a quality gin.  This unique cocktail is the perfect balance between the sweet and the sour, which pairs beautifully with savoury canapés […]

Stunningly unique

Artisan and hand-crafted spirits, beers, meads and ciders are, by definition, unique, but sometimes you need to qualify just how special an individual product is. In the case of Procera, a super-premium gin produced in Nairobi, Kenya, it’s their attention to detail that elevates their offer; from the hand-blown bottles and individually applied labels, to the […]

Not to be missed

London, the global capital of the drinks culture, plays host to the annual London Spirits, Wine and Beer Competitions, which are becoming an unmissable event where world’s top on-trade and off-trade professionals gather to judge thousands of spirits, wines and beers by quality, value and package. The judging panel encompasses head bartenders, mixologists and bar […]

People’s Choice Drinks Awards

The finalists have been announced in the People’s Choice Spirits Awards, as well as the shortlist for the People’s Choice Wine Awards, now in its sixth year. Judging sessions took place in Manchester and London, with over 160 people taking part. The panels comprised enthusiastic drinks consumers (chosen from an application process), alongside trade judges and […]

Media partnership confirmed

Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine has renewed its partnership with Beverage Trade Network to help promote and support the London Wine, London Spirits and London Beer competitions during 2023. We will continue to work to promote and support the three UK-based international events, which recognise, reward and help promote drinks brands that have successfully been created […]

Devilishly good

At Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine we were delighted to receive a bottle of Diablesse Coconut & Hibiscus Rum, which is produced by the first solely female-owned rum brand in the UK. Cleo Farman launched her company in 2019 after travelling the Caribbean and spent months back in the UK developing her range of rum. Following the […]

Iced tea perfected

Iced tea is one of those American institutions that you imagine has been enjoyed by those living in the balmy southern states for hundreds of years, yet it only become popular in the 1860s. Although iced tea is gaining popularity outside the United States and is being enjoyed by an increasing number of countries around […]

As you like it

We’re delighted to report that Shakespeare Distillery has expanded its business in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon where it has opened a brand new experiences space, which will create six new jobs. The independent artisan spirit producer has taken a long-term lease at 1 High Street in the historic town which houses their retail shop on […]

Super smooth whisky

Having sampled the Highland Birchwater produced by Birkentree I struggled to find enough superlatives to describe the smoothness that their product adds to whisky. When I first poured the birchwater into my tumbler of whisky there was no discernible difference from adding regular water. At this stage I didn’t really expect to experience anything dramatically […]