Gin - 2023
Dr Anne Brock is an accomplished distiller with experience of gin production from a start-up to multi-million pound facility. Beyond this impressive professional achievement, Anne has also provided inspiration, encouragement, and knowledge to distillers from around the world.
Anne started work in hospitality before studying for a degree in Chemistry at Oxford University; the degree was followed by a PhD in organic chemistry. Following the completion of her academic studies, Anne decided to pursue a career in distilling to combine her interests in bartending and chemistry.
The move to distilling came at the same time as the establishment of Bermondsey Distillery, producers of Jensen’s Gin, which has previously been made by another gin legend, Charles Maxwell, at Thames Distillers.
Around about this time, the London-based Craft Distilling Expo began running gin distilling classes for budding distillers and, along with her colleague David T Smith, Anne ran several of these classes both in the UK and the USA. The sessions were attended by people from more than one hundred different distilleries from all over the world, including the USA, South America, Australia, India, and Hong Kong. The classes also led to a project working with Nao Spirits to help develop their products in Goa: the multi-award winning Greater Than and Hapusa Gins.
Anne has conducted research into some of the thornier issues of the gin industry, such as one-shot vs. multi-shot and the role of fixatives in gin and has presented her findings at industry conferences across the UK and US. This practical knowledge sharing has made a real difference to how many distillers approach production and has helped many to improve their industrial efficiency.
Anne joined the board of The Gin Guild in 2015 as their Technical Advisor, helping to encourage further investigation into the science behind gin. In 2019, she took on a two-year term as the Grand Rectifier of The Gin Guild. She helped the organisation to adapt during the pandemic to help maintain global connections within the gin industry and continue to support distillers through the use of online materials.
In 2017, Anne joined Bombay Sapphire as their new Master Distiller, based at the idyllic Laverstoke Mill. With a newfound responsibility for every drop of Bombay Sapphire (and Oxley), this role was a significant departure from a distillery beneath a railway arch in Bermondsey. Anne is still keen to stress the similarities between the two and the common challenges and opportunities that all distilleries have, despite differences in their size. This has really helped to bridge any perceived gap between small and large distilleries and bring the industry together.
More recently, Anne has spent time traveling the world: first in Australia and then a few trips to the USA to share her love of the products that she makes and her passion for meticulously made spirits, no matter how big (or small) you are.
Anne continues to be a global inspiration to many in the spirits industry: in production, but also in the on and off trade. Through honest and open communication, others can see parts of themselves reflected in Anne and know that it is clear that brilliance and high achievement in the world of gin is attainable for everyone with diligence, capability, and a touch of conviviality.