Gin distillery: a day in the life

PUBLISHED: 09:20 03 January 2017

Anno Distillers

Anno Distillers

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Kim Reason of Anno Distillers on science, alchemy, experimentation – and an awful lot of patience

Anno DistillersAnno Distillers

Your full name: Kim Reason

Job title: Sales & marketing manager

Where based: Marden

Anno DistillersAnno Distillers

Anno’s background

At Anno we use the spirit of alchemy to influence all of our products, and it is from this scientific background that our beginnings stem. Both the founders and myself are keen scientists and enjoy experimenting with new ideas. My father, Andy, and his founding business partner Norman (right) were working at pharmaceutical company GSK when it was announced that their site was to be shut down. They had a few different options on the table, but their passion for science and love of the finer things in life – such as gin and whisky – meant that there was only ever really going to be one outcome. So they started a distillery and Anno Distillers was born.

Anno DistillersAnno Distillers

I had finished a degree in Biological Sciences and an MA in Business Management & Marketing, but was off discovering the world in Malaysia, working as a scuba diving instructor when I got the call asking, “Would I like to help them set up a distillery?” I was back within two weeks, sitting in my mother’s kitchen in Maidstone with a 2-litre still, developing a gin recipe.

What kind of business is it?

Anno DistillersAnno Distillers

A lot has changed since Anno was founded in August 2011, back when we were developing gin recipes in that tiny still. It took two years of experimentation and tweaks until we perfected our recipe and introduced our first product onto the market. It seemed like an eternity to wait, but it was time well spent developing recipes, waiting for our licences to come through, and designing our 300-litre copper-pot still, which we lovingly call ‘Patience’ (for obvious reasons).

We’ve had an amazing response since, so much so that we’ve expanded our range to five spirits – the original Anno Kent Dry Gin, an overproof 60 per cent abv dry gin, a sloe gin, elderflower vodka spirit drink, and a limited edition spiced cranberry gin.

We’ve moved into a small premises in Marden, where we distil and hand-bottle our products and offer distillery tours and private functions.

Anno DistillersAnno Distillers

How do you promote?

Luckily being the first micro-distillery in the county has created a lot of intrigue and with gin being the ‘in’ spirit we are grateful to have receive many opportunities for free press interviews, in print, on the radio and on TV, which helps to spread the message.

Anno DistillersAnno Distillers

We are fortunate to have started up in the age of social media whereby it is easy to build a loyal following and engage with your customers directly through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram relatively cheaply.

How do you market?

Anno DistillersAnno Distillers

We sell through many independent off-licences, farm shops, delis and local heritage sites including some beautiful Kentish castles. One of our biggest and best known is Majestic Wine Warehouses, but we also sell online and through a selection of wholesalers and distributors to the on-trade, restaurants and bars.

How many staff now?

Anno DistillersAnno Distillers

We are a small team so, other than myself, Andy and Norman, we also have Mike, who is our assistant distiller, and Peter, our commercial sales manager.

A typical working day?

Working in a fast-paced, small business means there is no such thing as a typical working day. There’s always something new and intriguing to get stuck into.

I try my best to stay in the office and focus on the sales and marketing, but you’ll often find me out on the road meeting stockists and promoting the brand at trade shows, networking meetings or with bloggers etc.

Job titles are somewhat a misnomer at times and you’ll find everyone pitching in with distilling, bottling, preparing orders, visitor tours and all the other minutiae of running a successful company at various different times.

Have you won any awards?

Our most recent is the Kent Life and Kent on Sunday 2016 Drinks Producer of the Year, but we have also won Taste of Kent Awards, Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Double Gold at the Great Taste Awards, and been BBC Good Food Show Champions.

Marks out of 10?

Sitting around all day drinking gin? How could that not be a 10?! In all seriousness, while there are long hours and many hurdles, the variety you get, the people you meet and being able to physically see the fruits of your labour at the end of the day make it all worthwhile. w

Get in touch

Anno Distillers, Unit 4 Crest Ind Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden TN12 9QJ

01622 833278, www.annodistillers.co.uk

More from Food & Drink

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Kent Life Food & Drink Awards finalists, as nominated by our readers, are all local heroes in our opinion – meet the 2020 winners

Read more
Friday, December 18, 2020

‘Kent, sir, everyone knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women,’ proclaims a character in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers. We have gathered some traditional dishes from around the county that were borne of the fruitful orchards and seas of Kent

Read more
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Andy has a confession: he loves the side dishes almost more than he loves the roast turkey. Here are three of his all-time favourites. Article first published in Dec 2018

Read more
December 2018
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Kent Life spends a festive morning with Christmas Bake Off star Jane Beedle in her Faversham home. Article first published in Dec 2019

Read more
Thursday, November 5, 2020

Get everything you need to keep everyone fed and watered throughout the Christmas period or pick up a gift or two from these great Kent producers

Read more
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

English wine is gaining in popularity and this winter could be just the time to try a few.

Read more
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Here’s something for all ages at our Halloween supper – the cocktail can be adjusted to be alcohol free for the kids | Words: Julie Friend - Photos: Julie Friend

Read more
Friday, October 23, 2020

With its wealth of culture, vibrant shopping areas and enticing eateries, Canterbury and its surroundings have much to tempt locals and visitors at this time of year.

Read more
Thursday, October 22, 2020

We are delighted to announce the finalists for the Kent Life Food & Drink Awards 2020! Congratulations to our wonderful finalists!

Read more
Friday, October 9, 2020

No Sunday is complete without a roast dinner, and in the glorious county of Kent you’ll be spoilt for choice with fantastic places to go. We have picked 12 great places where you can indulge in a roast with all the trimmings

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Latest Competitions & Offers



Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Latest from the Kent Life