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In a purpose-built space at the foot of the distillery, which sits on a residential side street in south east London, Beefeater gin has created a new attraction where visitors can experience the dramatic tale of the spirit’s past.
Exhibitions span the devastating gin craze of the 18th Century when the average Londoner is thought to have drunk a staggering 14 gallons of gin each year, through to virtual prohibition that gave way to secret speakeasies and dodgy gin dealers, right up to today’s growth in small-scale craft gin distilleries such as Sipsmith in Chiswick and Jensen in Bermondsey.
The dedicated gin museum comes complete with cobbled Victorian street markets, secret watering holes and plush bars which guests are free to walk around, using an interactive iPad app to find out more about each of the exhibits along the way. A guide then takes small groups into the distillery itself, giving a unique insight into how gin is made and showing the botanicals and processes which go into it.
As the only historic gin distillery still located in London, Beefeater is an appropriate brand to host the centre. The gin was first made in Chelsea in 1862 and when the distillery expanded in 1908, it moved to Kennington where it has stood ever since. No other gins dating back to this time are still made in the capital, with most having moved out to cheaper locations around the UK.
Beefeater London: The Home of Gin opens on 22 May. Tickets cost £12, including a gin and tonic at the distillery's dedicated bar.