The Producers …Hayman’s Gin, Witham
PUBLISHED: 08:14 24 March 2014 | UPDATED: 08:14 24 March 2014
THE Hayman family have been involved in Gin distillation since 1863 when Great Great Grandfather James Burrough, a pharmacist, purchased a gin rectifying company in London. His grandson Chris Hayman joined James Burrough Limited in 1969 and was responsible for the distillation and production of Beefeater until 1987. Although James Burrough Limited was sold to Whitbread in 1987, Hayman’s Distillers continued with just as much passion and tradition in the production of fine spirits including gin.
During his time with the company Chris has held a variety of key positions in the industry including chairman of the Gin and Vodka Association and has been a trustee of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust too. His children, James and Miranda, are the 5th generation to be involved with the family business. Both initially going off to experience other careers, Miranda in the wine trade and James in marketing, both are now working with Chris full time and together they are the longest serving gin distilling family in England. Producing gin for more than 150 years, they have an extensive range which includes Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin, Hayman’s Sloe Gin, Hayman’s London Dry Gin and Hayman’s Gin Liqueur plus Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin. However, it’s not all mother’s ruin, they also produce their own Smith & Cross Jamaica Rum and Sir Walter’s Original London Liqueur. They have recently added their own still, named Marjorie after their grandmother and their father’s mother. Miranda explains: ‘She sadly died when our father was just 17 and so she never knew that dad joined the family business, as all gin stills are traditionally named after women, it seemed right that we honour her memory in this way.’
With so many family businesses floundering I asked James what gives theirs longevity. ‘We have a great desire and passion to keep going, we use secret family recipes and people seem to like the family connection and Hayman’s traditional roots,’ James explains. ‘We are enjoying a gin renaissance currently so it’s a great platform to build on and Hayman’s is not just UK based. Although our gins are bottled and distilled here they are sold in the UK but also in New Zealand, China, America and Europe — in fact over 30 markets all over the world.’
Thankfully both James and Miranda also like gin. For James his favourite is a Martinez cocktail, the original martini, and for Miranda it’s a Hayman’s 1863, a mix of their sloe gin with London dry topped up with elderflower and Prosecco. The gin making process is a simple one in which herbs and spices are mixed with alcohol and added to the still and heated so that they interact with one another, then the still is cooled for 24 hours. The following day it’s heated again and the gin is extracted by distillation. Miranda concludes: ‘During the process you have the head, the heart and the tail and we only use the heart. This is the liquid that is distilled in the condenser and it’s just the middle bit we keep. The head and the tail are discarded and that’s what makes our gin so special, that and our traditional blend of botanicals.’
Get the taste
Local Stockists for Hayman’s Gin:
The Food Company
86 London Road
St Andrew’s Ave
You can also buy Hayman’s through various online outlets.