THE Henley Distillery
THE HENLEY DISTILLERY
The Henley Distillery is made up of a small team whose energy and passion are infectious. Each member brings their own strengths and we have built on the foundation of a family unit to form a supportive, solid structure of people who love what they do. Team meetings usually involve several bouts of belly-laughing and end with pizza and gin.
Meet the Team
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Jacob – Owner and Master Distiller – Creator of gin, lover of cake
Jacob has spent his career making a name for himself in the spirits industry. Since running pop-up bars at university, his thirst for knowledge has not yet been quenched and he has worked his way up the distilling ladder learning his trade at highly respected operations around the country.
At only 28, Jacob has now funnelled his passion, refined his exquisite palate and harnessed his intricate experience and knowledge of the distilling process to go into partnership with his father and realise his dream of creating his own spirits, in his own distillery, doing it his own way.
Jacob is Henley-born and has brought his dream venture back to his home town. As the son of local artists, Jacob has inherited not only his parents’ love of gin but their passion for hand-crafted quality. Our stills have been affectionately named after Jacob’s Grandfathers, Mac and Tony, both highly respected locals and the rotund, copper vessels are not only the heart of the distilling process but stand proud at the heart of the distillery itself.
Favourite Drink: Gin
Ben – Head Distiller – All about the flavours
The latest addition to our team is our Head Distiller Ben. Ben has jumped on board The Henley Distillery train and is already striking a great partnership with Jacob, developing recipes for our own brands as well as our contract distilling clients.
Ben studied at Southampton completing a Masters in Marine Biology. After University Ben ‘spent far too long picking worms out of mud’ and decided on a career change. With a big passion for cooking, flavours and science he found that distilling was the perfect fit. He started distilling in Devon before moving to Cardiff, and has now settled here in Henley.
Ben is the definition of cool, calm and collected… loves comedy, is a huge music nerd and knows how to grow a mean moustache. Ben went to see Barbie 4 times in his first month of starting and still hasn’t restored his reputation.
Favourite Drink: Negroni (Specifically the St John recipe) but made with Henley Gin Oriental Spiced
Alan – Director – (and Jacob’s Dad)
Alan is a local artist, a sculptor and is incredibly talented when it comes to forming things from wood, metal or any other material really. Alan is responsible for designing and building most of the infrastructure in the distillery – everything from the bottling room, the stainless steel and zinc tables, the stunning Gin Experience room, the zinc backdrop in the distillery – all built by his hand. He also designs all of the distillery artwork – our logo, labels and gift boxes.
As the patriarch of our small team, Alan can be found designing labels, hosting tours and tastings, planning the future with Jacob and trading at markets but mainly, you’ll find him eating biscuits… blimey does he love a biscuit… especially if it has been snaffled from someone else.
When Jacob was little, Alan and Terry (Jacob’s Mum) used to infuse local fruits in gin at home and after MUCH pleading from Jacob, Alan gave him his first sip when he was just 8 years old. The intention was to put him off spirits for life and boy, did that backfire!
Favourite Drink: anything that comes with a biscuit
Christian – Operations Manager – Lover of Dogs
Christian has been working in operations for 25 years, enjoys multi-tasking and managing multiple projects whilst resolving any issues at the same time. He loves a challenge which is just as well as he keeps the rest of the team in check!
Christian brings us structure, order, process, organisation and can deliver a dead-pan TV or film quote like no other.
He has a passion for old Volkswagens and will travel all over the country to rescue them, he is a lover of dogs, has a wicked sense of humour and is a joy to work with.
Favourite Drink: Our recently released Limited Edition Spiced Rum, a locally-brewed craft ale, or anything with pineapple in it.
Kerry – Head of Marketing – Drink Taste-Tester
The majority of Kerry’s career to date has been spent as a PA both in corporate and private situations including working as Travelling PA to Simon Cowell for a few years. She thrives on both variety and a challenge and has found an abundance of both since joining the team at The Henley Distillery.
Wearing many hats on a daily basis, Kerry heads-up marketing, PR, B2B, export sales and gets involved in strategy. Her arm doesn’t take much twisting when it comes to taste-testing the new products either!
Kerry suffers from incurable wanderlust – there’s only one life and a lot of world to see.
Favourite Drink: A very generous measure of Henley gin Oriental Spiced and tonic.
Vicki – Head of Sales & Events – enforcer of fun
With a Masters degree in Criminal Psychology and previous jobs that include working with young offenders, IT sales and being a scuba diving instructor, Vicki’s skill set is eclectic to say the least!
Vicki is the ultimate people person. We rely on her for passion, energy and to motivate us all. She heads-up our sales team creating relationships with retailers, pubs, restaurants and event spaces all over the country. Vicki is also responsible for us all getting out and about at markets and festivals throughout the year.
Favourite Drink: As a gin purist, she likes her Henley Gin Oriental Spiced G&T simple and unadulterated… although she has been known to be led astray by an Espresso Martini…
Katie – Production Assistant & Social Media Manager – (and Jacob’s fiancé!)
Without Katie, the distillery simply wouldn’t run. She will turn her hand to anything and as a performing arts teacher and star of the stage, she does so in style…and usually in song!
Katie runs social media, is amazing at customer service and can be found bottling, labeling, hosting events and generally ensuring the distillery runs smoothly, calmly and always with a smile.
(She can also drop into the splits on request and loves Christmas more than anyone we have ever met.)
Favourite Drink: Henley Gin Classic Dry and tonic…or a Pina colada!
Terry – Trainee Distiller, Production Assistant – (and Jacob’s Mum)
Terry is a true local to Henley as her family has lived in the area since the 1700s.
Terry is an artist and all-round creative. She had her own business creating incredible hyper-realistic cakes but has recently focused her time on the distillery. As a pastry chef, Terry taught Jacob all he needed to know about taste and flavours from a young age. Jacob is now returning the favour, imparting his own knowledge…
As well as taking on some distilling herself, Terry works the bottling room, hosts events/markets creates the syrups which are used in our spirits – such as the local rhubarb syrup in our Rhubarb & Orange gin.
Whenever Terry is around there’s always cake… so she’s obviously everybody’s favourite and just to add yet another string to her bow – she plays in a ukulele band as well!
Favourite Drink: Tea. Always tea. Or a negroni!
HENLEY GIN – THE METHOD
300l gleaming copper alembic stills ‘Tony & Mac’ are heated over open flames giving Jacob complete control over each of the genuinely small batches. There are no industrial rectifying columns here, nothing is chill-filtered and each bottle of the single-shot sipping gin is hand-filled, hand-labelled, hand-numbered and sealed with pride.
Jacob makes the cuts by taste, not machine. He runs the stills to the point at which they produce the optimum flavour and there starts the heart of the batch. The heads and tails are discarded and Henley Gin is the premium spirit that remains.
As well as developing his own brand in Henley Gin, Jacob also shares his energy and passion with others as part of his contract distilling venture. Jacob is creating global award-winning spirits for brands, big and small across the UK.
To learn more about the distilling process from a Head Distiller and taste the kind produced at The Henley Distillery, why not take advantage of one of our Tour and Tasting sessions or even our fully-immersive Henley Distillery Gin Experience.