Dr Anne Brock is the occupant of one of the premier distilling positions in the world. She is the controller of the dials at the beautiful Laverstoke Mill Distillery aka the master distiller of the world renowned Bombay Sapphire. Anne gained a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Oxford and also has a past behind the bar mixing drinks (you still can’t get a PhD in bartending unfortunately). Anne also holds the lofty title of Grand Rectifier of The Gin Guild, which the Gin Journey are proud members of, and is an all round superstar gin producer. Here’s her thoughts on how to make gin for a living.
1. How did you become a distiller? Nature or nurture?
Nurture: I was always encouraged to study science by my parents, and they took me to visit distilleries on family holidays when I was a young child. After a few years as a bartender, with a chemistry degree in hand, it was kind of inevitable.
2. What’s the best thing about being a distiller?
Being part of the spirits industry – it is full of brilliant, enthusiastic and talented people.
3. And the worst?
Pass, there isn’t one.
4. What’s your first drink of the day? Coffee, tea or ethanol?
Tea or ethanol depending on the day. Distillers will smell or taste (with a dab of the finger) the spirit they’re producing throughout the day so I will be there to check the quality control throughout.
5. Awards or sales?
Sales. I like awards but I’d love to create a gin that is an instant classic and that is chosen by people all over the world as their favourite gin.
6. Negroni or Martini?
If I have to choose, I’d say a Martini. With orange bitters and an olive.
7. What’s the question you get asked the most?
Do you like gin?
8. And what’s the answer?
You couldn’t do my job and not be passionate about the spirit you work with. I love gin. Most of them….
9. One (or more) tip for budding distillers please.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help from distillers in your field of choice, we’re a friendly bunch. Choose a spirit you have true passion for.