From the outside, it’s just another house on a street in Broughton.
But to those of us in the know, Becky Brown and Paul Carruthers’ home is also home to their micro-distillery and Fenney Street Gin.
Nursing executive Paul and midwife Becky have put 13 botanicals together to create a floral gin that’s proved a hit both in their home county of Cumbria and in Manchester.
It was a very natural progression, as Paul explained to me.
“We’re very much food and drink people. We love our wines, but gin is always our go-to drink. So whether it’s after a busy day at work or the weekend, we love gin.
“We wanted to create our own and we’d done things like damson gin, but we wanted to have a go at distilling our own. So we bought a mini-still. A lot of bad gins were made as we sort of worked our way through our recipes and eventually we went from making something that was alright to something really good. We loved it. So we started taking it to our friends, who would say ‘ohh that’s a really good gin – no, that’s really good’ sort of thing.
“We made sure we could recreate it, made it again, and made it again and we’d got it. It was everything that we wanted it to be.
“We wanted to make something different to everyone else’s. I really wanted to make a rose gin, but then Worsley Gin from down the road have done rose so I thought well that’s that out the window. We didn’t feel like we could do that.
“And then we were clearing out my granddad’s farm in Cumbria and we came across a few things. One was that the boiler room had a distillery attached to it. We don’t know if it was ever used, but there was also a foraging book, and in it was a wildflower cordial in there. And that’s where it came from. We played around with the lavender, rose, and elderflower, and that was our recipe.”
But it’s not been easy, especially with Ada, their larger still, named after Paul’s grandma.
“The still itself was the most feisty thing when it arrived. First there was a leak coming out of it. I tried to find a plumber in Manchester, but no plumber would touch it. Then the part finally arrived and we could distil. We ran our first distillation and it came out yellow, so we worked out we needed to run rye flour and water through the still to clean it out first.
“We worked it out though. We tamed her and she’s working better than our mini-still ever did!”
Becky confirmed that the still mimicked the the real life Ada.
“She was a bit of a feisty character on gin. She was lovely, but when she drank gin, she would get a little feisty.”
The gin contains thirteen botanicals, including the florals of lavender, elderflower and rose, with juniper, cubeb pepper, and lemon peel, is macerated for ten hours before being produced using the ‘one shot’ method, and being let down with Cumbrian water.
“It’s been a labour of love, but it’s been hard work. There are nights where we’re up till two in the morning Becky putting labels on. Everything is done by hand. 85 bottles per batch.
“I would love this to be our business. The thought of having something that we’ve made, we’ve created – we always want it to be our gin.”
Fenney Street Gin launches on 22 March.