Hayman Family Distillers
Some of you savvy gin drinkers may be familiar with an expression of Beefeater's called "Burrough's Reserve," named after distillery founder James Burrough who started the company back in 1863. What you many not know is that Burrough's great-grandson, Christopher Hayman, sold the Beefeater's distillery in 1987 (today it's run by Pernod-Ricard), but he didn't take his family out of the gin game completely. With the money from the sale he was able to re-purchase the Burrough's plant in Essex that specialized in industrial production of grain neutral for other distillers and cosmetics alike, as well as bottling for producers who outsourced that part of the process. He continued to invest in gin, buying a piece of the Thames Distillery, the biggest contract gin distiller in England (a number of your favorite brands like Fifty Pounds, Oxley, Darnley's View, Ford's are made there), from where he eventually launched his own brand under the family name.
In 2013, the production of the Hayman's line was moved from Thames to the Essex distillery, where Hayman continues to make clean, fresh, and affordable classically-London style gins that are some of the best in the business. The problem with affordable booze at K&L is that it's often suspicious to our boutique-oriented clientele, used to (and, frankly, looking for) $30+ bottles of craft gin. We have the same issue with inexpensive Bourbon, but let me tell you: our well-versed customers and knowledgeable staff aren't complaining about plenty of delicious, bargain-priced hooch on the shelf! All of the Hayman's gins use juniper, orris, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange, lemon, liquorice, angelica, and coriander for their botanical recipes, just in different quantities depending on the expression. The Royal Dock in particular has to be one of the most amazing values in the gin world, weighing in at 57% navy strength ABV, with a vibrant and bright snapiness of flavor, yet with a sub-$30 price point. All are fantastic, however, and represent textbook examples of what English gin has become renowned for.
Those thinking the great value brands of the UK have all become corporatized just need to dig a bit deeper. Hayman's, with direct lineage to Beefeater, is a family-run and family-owned distillery making top-notch gins in an old school style for everyday prices. Don't overlook these next time you come in.