Doghouse Distillery

United Kingdom, England

Braden Saunders set up this micro distillery in the railway Arches right next door to our Battersea Warehouse. We were intrigued from the start of course - and we are delighted with the results. Doghouse did not rush out their products, indeed we have been waiting for months before they finally got first their great Gin ready for release in the Autumn of 2017 and the Vodka has taken until July 2018 to reach the high level of pure quality they wanted. These spirits are powerfully flavoured, broad and uncompromising. A very different style and very worthy additions to our ever-growing selection of fine Gins and Vodkas. We are delighted to be their first UK retail partners.

Despite its very comfortable status as the home of gin, London – for all its way-paving craft brands – hasn’t had much to say for itself when it comes to grain to glass production. You have to go back a fair few decades to get the first whiff of fermentation & distillation in the same place – and none of which survived after the War. For the most part today, distillers buy in their neutral alcohol from another maker, pop it into their own stills alongside a grab-bag of juniper and other botanicals and call it job done, which is fair enough, we always thought. Space is limited, making vodka is expensive and time consuming and – for Londoners, at least – there aren’t any farms in the city to get wheat from anyway so it’s not exactly something you thing of when wanting to showcase the capital’s provenance. Doghouse Distillery founder Braden Saunders did not share our sentiments. “I was actually amazed when I discovered in my research that nearly all gin distilleries make their gin from neutral grain spirit that they buy in,” he told us. “I have always lived by the mantra ‘if you are going to do something, do it properly’.” Thus, when he decided to open up his distillery in Battersea, London, it was always going to be an all guns blazing, from scratch affair. A stretch at the best of times, but Saunders wasn’t even coming at it from a distilling background. Explaining his venture into gin production, Saunders said: “I ran a pub with my wife in Australia that specialised in micro-brewed craft beer. I learnt to brew when we made colab beers with local breweries and really enjoyed the manufacturing process. It wasn’t enough to just have good beer, though, so I started working on building an amazing selection of great boutique wines and also spirits. “I have always loved Gin and it was at this time that I started trying different gins, including some awesome West Coast US ones. So, in 2014 I set it as a life goal to make a gin!” Mission realised, Saunders jetted off to Kentucky in April 2015 to attend the American Distilling Institute conference, then enrolled on a short course at the Institute of Brewing & Distilling in January 2016. After that, he immersed himself into any literature on the subject he could find, before trawling around distilleries to see how it all worked first hand. So to England from Australia via America Saunders journeyed, heading to London not just because it is the land of gin, but because he’s felt the magnetic pull of the city ever since he pulled a five-year stint in the early Noughties. Plus, he adds, “it’s the best city in the world, right?” Of course, not being a Londoner himself, Saunders had absolutely no idea about the association between Battersea and dogs, so Doghouse Distillery was little more than a coincidence. “I love booze, I have drunk a lot of it, served a lot of it over a bar,” he explains. “That passion for booze comes hand in hand with spending a fair amount of time in the doghouse…” As fascinating as the grain to glass approach is, our real interest here is in Doghouse Distillery’s juniper juice – Renegade Gin. Saunders had an idea in mind for his flavour profile right from the off, inspired by his years of drinking and serving gins. “I felt something was lacking,” he explained. “Gins were either too bitter (as in London Dry) or too sweet/citrusy, so you had to move from them to something else after a few. I basically wanted to create something that was sessionable, something you could drink all night. Like the ‘pale ale’ equivalent in the gin world.”  (Feb 2018)