Barry Island Gin gets seal of approval from a Michelin starred restaurant

The gin was described by the chief sommelier of Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant as one of the best gins they have come across for some time.


Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin starred restaurant is stocking a gin from Gavin and Stacey's hometown of Barry in South Wales.


Barry Island Gin is made by local entrepreneurs Claire and Tim Whalley. It is a labour of love for the pair, who both left high profile corporate jobs to follow their dream of opening a bar and turning their passion for craft beer, wine and spirits into a successful, local business in their hometown of Barry.


However, they did not expect to be launching it all during a global pandemic.


The husband and wife team are behind Craft Republic, an independent bar and bottle shop located at the GoodSheds development in Barry.


Following the success of the gin the pair have produced a spiced rum. They are already on the third batch, with the product selling out almost as soon as Claire posts it on Instagram.

Barry Island gin has "a quartet of blood orange, lime, juniper and thyme, with subtle spice notes to elevate the citrus and deliver a rounded taste that is clean, fresh and bright".


And it is these flavours that tickled the tastebuds of some prominent connoisseurs, including the chief sommelier at The Hinds Head in Bray - the Michelin starred pub run by world renowned experimental chef, Heston Blumenthal and part of The Fat Duck Group - which has chose Barry Island Gin as its gin of the month for December.


Lowri Jones, Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier at The Hinds Head said: "We strive to champion small, independent brewers, wineries and distillers when choosing our beverage selection.


"With this in mind, Barry Island Gin was the perfect choice for our Gin of the Month. It’s freshness and lime and blood orange aromas have already made it a firm favourite with our guests. It simply is one of the best gins we have come across for some time."


Since opening, Tim and Claire have been keen to develop a house gin for Craft Republic and worked with a Welsh distiller to choose a unique blend of botanicals, thoughtfully hand-crafted to deliver the perfect balance of juniper, citrus and spice and distilled with pure Welsh water to make a truly local gin.


The small batch, hand crafted Barry Island Gin is available to buy direct from Craft Republic, and Tim and Claire have already had orders from across the UK and have been busy hand labelling and packing orders to send to Scotland, Devon, Leeds and Yorkshire, each with a handwritten note.


Speaking about the business idea behind Barry Island Gin, Claire, who previously worked in a government digital marketing role, said: "We’ve lived on Barry Island for 15 years and really feel part of the community here. We always wanted somewhere where we could go out after work and meet friends for a nice glass of wine or a craft beer without having to go into Cardiff, which was how Craft Republic came about.


"It’s been four years in the planning and we’re entirely self-funded which has actually really enabled us to be flexible and adaptable during the pandemic as we don’t have to answer to anyone else or wait for any approval. We also knew wanted to develop our own house drinks alongside the bar and Barry Island Gin is the first stage of that ambition to be realised.


"We’re delighted that the experts in the field have already recognised the unique qualities of Barry Island Gin, but we also want to make sure it remains a small batch, local product.


"We’ve done everything to ensure it’s a truly Barry product, even down to hand peeling the limes ourselves! We think it’ll be perfect as a gin of the month for some of the craft gin clubs that are really popular at the moment or other Michelin starred restaurants like the Hinds Head, but we also want to keep it small and local.


"It’s already proving popular as a Christmas gift to order online and is available with a branded glass too. Barry Island is special place for lots of people from all over the world who have great affection for the area and people still want to buy from local, independent sellers despite the impact of lockdowns. Luckily our online shop was already up and running so it makes the process easy."


Claire added: “It’s been tough launching a business in the middle of a global pandemic, but we’re really lucky that our hard work and planning has paid off and we’re now in a position where our dreams have become a reality; we’re bringing cool, unique and quality drinks home to Barry - by making them ourselves!”


You can buy Barry Island Gin and Barry Island Rum online or by visiting our bottle shop. We ship bottle all over the UK so if you'd like us to send it to you or gift wrap it, just select the options at checkout.

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