Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A home-grown gin company in Gower has found a new venue for a distillery which it hopes will treble its production capacity.
The Gower Gin Company plans to convert a stone barn at a farm near Pilton Green, between Scurlage and Rhossili, in order to produce its own gin and others it makes for operators across the UK.
It now has planning permission from Swansea Council to convert the barn, but joint director and owner Andrew Brooks said there was still some way to go.
Mr Brooks said he appreciated the support from the council, and that if all went to plan new jobs would be created as well as an empty stone barn at Paviland Farm being brought back to life.
“There were no other suitable places in Gower that we could find,” he said.
Mr Brooks and his wife Sian started the company in 2017 and have been distilling gin and hosting taster sessions in a bike shed at their home in Port Eynon ever since. They forage botanicals – used to flavor gin – locally.
Their business has grown and now includes warehouse space in Fforestfach, Swansea, for storage and packing space in connection with the mail order side of the venture.
Three years ago they wanted to open a distillery at a barn in Dunvant, but their planning application was turned down. They then looked at a unit in Crofty, North Gower, but said it was too big.
“It has to be a small-ish site in the heart of Gower,” said Mr Brooks, a former management consultant.
Early on in the Covid pandemic the couple transformed their business to produce large amounts of hand sanitiser, which was dispatched to care homes, hospitals and childcare centres, among others.
The company has four to seven full and part-time staff depending on the order book, and makes several branded gins of its own.
“We also make other gins for companies across the UK,” said Mr Brooks. “There are some amazing brands we’re working with, and we are making new gins pretty much every week.”
The 57-year-old said he loved the creative side of the job.
A planning statement submitted on behalf of The Gower Gin Company said it was imperative the distillery was located somewhere on the Gower peninsula because its ingredients were foraged there.
Council planning officers said they agreed partially with this argument, and that overall the proposal was acceptable.
Mr Brooks said taster sessions and distilling at the garden shed would continue.
“It’s where we started,” he said. “People know it, and come back year after year to see us. We’ve got 20 groups booked in for April.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.