Hot off the press comes the news that Bombay Sapphire has unveiled plans for its distillery in Laverstoke Mill, Hampshire. The project is a multi-million pound restoration of the historic buildings, which once housed one of England’s most important bank note paper making facilities. The design has been created by acclaimed London designer Thomas Heatherwick and his team at Heatherwick Studio. The site will be completely renovated from a derelict mill into a state of the art premium gin distillery and visitor centre encompassing the highest standards in design, functionality and sustainability.
The new distillery will be built on a two hectare brown-field site, near the grounds of Laverstoke Park, just 60 miles from London. It’s a site of great natural beauty, astride the crystal clear River Test – and historically associated with producing the finest quality British products.
Bombay Sapphire intends to restore the buildings and grounds while introducing a new structure that will complement the existing buildings as a showcase of the Bombay Sapphire brand. The highlight of the complex build will be the glass house for Bombay Sapphire Gin’s 10 botanicals (see image). As a major feature of Laverstoke Mill, the glass house is a symbol of the brand’s careful, skillful and imaginative approach to gin making.
Heatherwick comments on the design: “As the particular flavours of Bombay Sapphire gin are derived from ten botanicals, the centerpiece of the site is a glass house, within which visitors will experience the specific horticultural specimens infused in the spirit. The glass house, influenced by Britain’s rich heritage of glass house structures, will be two separate structures providing both a humid environment for spices that originate from the tropics, as well as a dry temperate zone for Mediterranean plants. We are thrilled to have the chance to take this historic site, and turn it from its current derelict state into a new industrial facility with national significance.”
The 10 year relationship between the brand and Thomas Heatherwick started when he was crowned the inaugural winner of the Bombay Sapphire Prize – an international award for excellence and innovation in glass. Alongside high profile designers he joined the Bombay Sapphire Foundation, which encourages and rewards the very best in contemporary design and glass design in particular. In 2010, he was approached by the Bombay Sapphire team to design the brand home in Laverstoke.
Bombay Sapphire Global Category Director John Burke adds: “It’s a very exciting time for the Bombay Sapphire team, especially now that we’re seeing our plan for Laverstoke Mill come into fruition. With tradition, quality and craftsmanship at the heart of the site’s heritage, we can finally look forward to opening our doors to consumers worldwide and share with them the care, skill and imagination that is infused in the spirit we produce. Bombay Sapphire gin has experienced great success and growth over the last 10 years and with the opening of the brand’s home and consumer experience, we are very optimistic for next decade.”