The Irchester bungalow distillery unlikely home of the marshmallow-flavoured glitter gin
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A lockdown project that sprang from a love of brewing has transformed a small shed in Irchester into England’s smallest fully licensed distillery.
Behind the Little Devil Distillery is Stewart Bridge, creator of the handcrafted vodka, gin, rum and brandy from his back garden ‘nano’ distillery.
Working with partner Claire, the couple ploughed money that they had saved for an extension to their bungalow into their business and, having just sold their 200th bottle, they want to expand sales.
The Little Devil Distillery is hoping to obtain a licence to sell products online to a mass market – including the best-selling Marshmallow glitter gin developed by Stewart.
He said: “I’d been producing my own beer, wine and cider for a long time, then during lockdown we discovered gin.
"I have ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder so hobbies have been fleeting, but the science and the chemistry really scratched an itch.”
From a basic kit, Claire invested £40,000 into the equipment, including a plated column still. Stewart obtained a full licence to produce alcohol.
He said: “I think we might be the smallest fully licensed distillery in England.”
Over the three-week process, Stewart uses water and a ‘secret ingredient’ to produce gin, vodka and rum. He has the capacity to make 1,000 bottles a month, although he said realistically 500 is his current limit.
He said: “Our maximum limit is 1,000 bottles a month but we are nowhere near that yet. We have just sold our 200th bottle since we opened in October 2021.
"Our marshmallow gin is the most popular. It is gin with a marshmallow root in it – it’s not sickly and is designed to be a mixer.”
The company also produces Bloody Reaper, that contains the world’s currently hottest chili – the Carolina Reaper.
Stewart said: “It’s fun when I come up with a new recipe. The chili isn’t too hot but it’s there.”
He gives partner Claire, who owns the business, credit for her hard work. He said: “If it wasn’t for Claire giving me this chance and keeping me in check we wouldn’t be here.”
The distillery donates £1 for every bottle sold to Northamptonshire autism support groups and charities, to help all the other local “Little Devils” out there.
Stewart had a difficult childhood, and was cared for in a children’s home from the age of eight to 16. He was then housed in a hostel for two years.
He said: “I was frequently called a ‘little devil’ as a child. I was an undiagnosed ‘brat’ and expelled from so many schools. That’s the reason why I called the business Little Devil Distillery.
“I’ve been so fortunate and I want to give something back to other people with autism.”
If the business is granted a premises licence the company will be able to sell their Northamptonshire-made across the country.
Currently the nine gins and vodkas are stocked in the county at The Little R’ale House at Wellingborough station, RHTS Station Bar at Rushden Station, and Irchester Convenience Store, in Arkwright Road, Irchester.
On Saturday, April 16, The Little R’ale House will host a free gin and vodka taste test event with bottles for sale on the day.