Last month, in the port of New Haven, Edinburgh a group of 15 of us from Queen Victoria’s Bars and Sommeliers team visited the Pickering’s Gin Distillery – the first exclusive gin distillery to be established in Edinburgh for over 150 years and also the one which makes our Three Queens Gin. 

As we reached our destination we met our very cheerful tour guide Victoria (Queen Victoria met Victoria – what a coincidence). She gave us a welcome drink which was the classic Gin and Tonic made from their 1947 recipe. To our amazement we were told that there will be six more to follow. Afterwards we started the tour, and to our surprise the distillery itself is just a small area with two huge tanks (named Gertrude and Emily after the grandmothers of the two founders). Victoria then showed us the botanicals they used in making the gins including the original recipe of the Pickering’s gin which originated in Bombay, India and was given to Marcus Pickerings (co-founder) by his father’s friend. We also saw the bottling and labelling area. 

During the gin tasting Matthew Gammel (co-founder) arrived to join us while Marcus was on board Queen Victoria to do a Pickering’s gin master class for our beloved Guests. We were so delighted to meet him and of course taste the other gins. He mentioned the history on how the distillery came about and the story behind Pickering’s making gins for Cunard.

The distillery was once a kennels called The Royal Dick Veterinary until 2014, when Matt and Marcus bought it and turned it into what is now. Marcus is the great nephew of the celebrated Captain George Gibbons who captained our Cunard ships Aquitania, Mauretania and Queen Mary. Having discovered the connection, his fondness for making gin led him to decide to create a gin exclusively for our Cunard ships.

The tour was enriching as we gained so much more knowledge about the products we sell onboard. It also gives an opportunity to impress our Guests with our new found knowledge and broaden their ideas with our selection of gins.

This is another astonishing experience brought to us by our ever supportive beverage team both on board and ashore. May we have more to come! 

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