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DRINKUP ON TOUR: RAMSBURY ESTATE

In the heart of the North Wiltshire countryside lies a very special and sustainable distillery and brewery, with the sole focus of bringing field to bottle in the form of an awesome vodka, a gin and some forward-thinking brews. Centred round the quaint village of Ramsbury… we packed our bags and headed there to get the DrinkUp lowdown on the Ramsbury Estate.

Only an hour on the train from Paddington and you’ll feel like you’re slap bang in an episode of Midsomer Murders. Go carefully now! Rolling fields of wheat, postcard-pretty villages and proper pubs… it’s not surprising that Ramsbury are proud of where they come from! Farmers first and foremost, they started brewing beer in 2004, taking inspiration from the countryside around them, then in 2014 opened their distillery - easily adapting to make an unbelievably creamy vodka and London Dry style gin. All overlooking their gorgeous orchard, lake and reed beds.

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As much as possible here is done on site from the barley grown and turned into mash for the ales to growing the fresh quince that is used as one of the botanicals in their gin – they’re even starting to plant their own wild juniper bushes, which is pretty exciting.

Over the years the team here have also been committed to reducing their waste and the impact they have on nature. The brewery uses heat generated by a boiler fed from their own sustainable woodland, the water is cleaned by a wildlife-friendly reed bed system that comes out good enough to drink and feeds into a lake mere metres from the distillery. Spent botanicals used in the gin are dehydrated and used as a seasoning in their smokehouse and waste solids from the brewing process are fed to the pigs after having all the alcohol removed, because you really wouldn't want tipsy pigs.

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From starting with just one ale - their flagship Ramsbury Gold - they now brew over ten core beers, a variety of seasonal specials like their most recent mango pale ale and of course their tasty vodka and gin. But even with growth, the really nice thing here is they can still tell you which field grew the wheat in any particular bottle and who farmed the field.

A lovely tour of the Ramsbury Brewery and Distillery, with the chance to drink some of their ale and spirits and learn how their unique taste is created takes an hour and a half. And after that you can pootle off to their fabulous inn in Ramsbury, The Bell, for a slap up lunch, dinner or even a restful night’s sleep if the mood should take you… Which it definitely did for us - and rest assured breakfast was just as delish as supper the night before. 

AND the best part of all, The Ramsbury Estate spirits will be popping up in our London Cocktail Week Cocktail Village from 9-13 October... to stay up to date with all the happenings, keep your eye on our London Cocktail Week page. 

What you need to know about visiting Ramsbury:
We took the train from Paddington to Hungerford, which took an hour then took a short taxi ride to the farm. Tours are available at 11am every Friday for a reasonable £20 per person and can be booked here. Each tour takes around an hour and a half and includes the brewery, distillery and tasting sessions of both their award winning beer and single estate spirits.