WORLD Gin Day is today – giving you the perfect excuse to prepare a G&T.

In recent years, the UK’s love affair with gin has gone from strength to strength.

It is now the nation’s favourite spirit, having overtaken whisky, according to market research company Kantar.

The drink is steeped in history too – and a lot of that heritage is associated with Warrington thanks to G&J Distillers which has links to the town all the way back to Thomas Dakin making gin in Bridge Street in 1761.

To celebrate World Gin Day, here are 15 facts about gin making at G&J in Birchwood.

1. G&J Distillers, part of the Quintessential Brands Group since 2011, is the oldest continuous distilling company in the country and celebrates its 260th anniversary this year.

2. Quintessential Brands Group is the reigning International Spirits Challenge Gin Producer of the Year, thanks to the team at G&J Distillers who are the company’s gin-production specialists. They’ve been doing it for 260 years after all.

3. Furthermore, they have won International Spirits Challenge Gin Producer of the Year five times in the past six years, holding on to the prestigious title for the third year in a row in 2020, a feat never achieved before in the competition’s history.

G&J team

G&J team

4. Some of the world’s leading gin brands are produced at G&J Distillers, such as Greenall’s, Opihr Spiced Gin and BLOOM Gin, which are sold as far afield as Australia.

The company also produces some of the leading own label gin brands in the UK as well as craft gin brands, Thomas Dakin and Berkeley Square.

5. G&J Distillers has been at the heart of the gin renaissance in the last decade and has led the way in pioneering flavoured gins. All flavoured gins within the BLOOM and Greenall’s ranges are made without the addition of sugar or sweeteners, unlike many other big gin brands.

6. The story of Greenall's gin goes back to 1761 when Thomas Dakin, just 25 at the time, set up a distillery in Bridge Street.

G&J past and present

G&J past and present

7. Today, G&J Distillers is making strides in reducing its impact on the environment – it uses only renewable energy as it is powered using electricity generated solely by off-shore wind farms and it is also proud to be a zero-landfill site.

8. It's not only gin they make at G&J Distillers. As part of Quintessential Brands Group, they produce the likes of vodka, rum and a variety of liqueurs.

9. A staggering 61.5 million bottles of spirits were distilled at the 26,610sq m Birchwood site in the last year.

10. Around 170 people work at the distillery, located on Clayton Road, Birchwood, these days. Thanks to stringent health and safety measures, the team maintained production throughout the pandemic ensuring the nation’s supply of gin was never in doubt.

11. With community being very important to the G&J Distillers team, they stepped up to support health services during the pandemic, providing care packages to everyone of the hard-working team at St Rocco’s and also donating PPE to Warrington Hospital.

G&J Distillers is an ongoing charity partner of St Rocco’s and raised more than £20,000 for the hospice in 2019 with a team cycling from Warrington to the company’s Irish distillery in Dublin city centre, the Dublin Liberties Distillery.

Providing gin as a thank you to St Roccos

Providing gin as a thank you to St Rocco's

12. The distillery has two high speed lines, capable of filling up to 500 bottles a minute and a third line for more bespoke products which can fill up to 40 bottles a minute. A miniature bottle filling line was installed in 2018, meaning the site has bottling capacity from 5cl through to 1.75 litres.

13. Joanne Moore, a former Bridgewater High student, is the distillery's seventh master distiller and has been for 15 years (since 2006). She is also one of the first female master distillers in the world.

14. The 'holy trinity' of botanicals in Greenall's is juniper berries from Tuscany, coriander seeds from Morocco and angelica root from Saxony.

15. This year marks a decade since G&J Distillers’ parent company, Quintessential Brands Group, was established, so the G&J Distillers team will be marking their 10th birthday milestone with celebrations with the rest of their Quintessential Brands teams this summer in Cheshire.