Home » Couple set up England’s smallest distillery in their garden SHED

Couple set up England’s smallest distillery in their garden SHED

by Press room

Couple who started making gin during lockdown have now set up England’s smallest distillery in their garden SHED – making £40 marshmallow, salted caramel and chilli-flavoured spirits

  • Stewart Bridge and Claire Ashford set up Little Devil Distillery during lockdown
  • The 28sq/m garden shed distillery is believed to be the smallest in England
  • The couple, from Irchester, Northants have produced marshmallow, salted caramel and chilli-flavoured spirits

A couple who started making their own gin as a hobby during lockdown have set up England’s smallest distillery – in their garden shed.

Stewart Bridge and Claire Ashford have been running their tiny production line from behind their bungalow in Irchester, Northants.

The distillery produces nine gins – including the most popular marshmallow and glitter flavour – as well as super-hot chilli vodka.

They now produce 500 bottles of spirits a month after receiving their official brewing licence.

With the couple’s largest still pot being only 100 litres, is it believed they are the owners of the smallest distillery in England.

A couple who started making their own gin as a hobby during lockdown have set up England’s smallest distillery – in their garden shed. Pictured: Head distiller Stewart Bridge

The distillery produces nine gins - including the most popular marshmallow and glitter flavour - as well as super-hot chilli vodka

The distillery produces nine gins – including the most popular marshmallow and glitter flavour – as well as super-hot chilli vodka

Stewart Bridge and Claire Ashford have been running their tiny production line from behind their bungalow in Irchester, Northants since 2020

Stewart Bridge and Claire Ashford have been running their tiny production line from behind their bungalow in Irchester, Northants since 2020

Stewart, 39, said: ‘I’d been producing my own beer, wine and cider for a long time, then during lockdown we discovered gin.

‘I used to absolutely hate gin, I was a whisky man. I started going to local gin and rum festivals.

‘You get quick results, roughly within 24 hours. With beer it takes months.’

The couple invested £40,000 into their business, which they called Little Devil Distillery, and kitted out their 10ft by 28ft shed at their home with fermenters and stills last year.

They currently sell to bars and supermarkets and have recently sold their 200th bottle but have applied for a licence to sell to customers online.

Stewart said he and fiancée Claire experimented with more than 100 gin flavours before developing the top nine which include the popular marshmallow tipple which is 45 per cent proof and costs £39.99

Stewart said he and fiancée Claire experimented with more than 100 gin flavours before developing the top nine which include the popular marshmallow tipple which is 45 per cent proof and costs £39.99

With the couple's largest still pot being only 100 litres, is it believed they are the owners of the smallest distillery in England

With the couple’s largest still pot being only 100 litres, is it believed they are the owners of the smallest distillery in England

Stewart said he and fiancée Claire experimented with more than 100 gin flavours before developing the top nine which include the popular marshmallow tipple which is 45 per cent proof and costs £39.99.

He added: ‘We wanted some flavours that are common so that people recognise it. And we wanted some out-there ones.

‘I made the marshmallow gin and thought it looked dull. Some friends suggested edible glitter so we tested loads of different colours of glitter.

‘When people taste it and I see their eyes roll into the back of their head, it’s such a great feeling to know that my product has touched their brain. Food and drink is really quite a personal experience.’

They currently sell to bars and supermarkets and have recently sold their 200th bottle but have applied for a licence to sell to customers online

They currently sell to bars and supermarkets and have recently sold their 200th bottle but have applied for a licence to sell to customers online

The couple are also aiming to be more environmentally friendly and eventually produce solar-powered gin

The couple are also aiming to be more environmentally friendly and eventually produce solar-powered gin

The couple are also aiming to be more environmentally friendly and eventually produce solar-powered gin.

Claire, 45, said: ‘We want to be one of England’s first carbon negative distillery.

‘We plan to grow some of our botanicals on our property. We also plan to get solar panels to make sun powered gin.

‘We only buy our energy from renewable energy sources.’

Stewart was diagnosed with autism as a child but he says making his wacky gins has improved his mental health.

He said: ‘I was frequently called a “little devil” as a child. I was an undiagnosed “brat” and expelled from so many schools.

‘That’s the reason why I called the business Little Devil Distillery.

‘I also have ADHD so hobbies have been fleeting, but the science and the chemistry for making the gins really scratched an itch.

‘I’ve been so fortunate and I want to give something back to other people with autism.’ 

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