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|Manufacturer||James Burrough Ltd.|
|Country of origin||London, United Kingdom|
|Alcohol by volume||40%–50%|
|Variants||Beefeater Crown Jewel London Dry Gin at 50% ABV (100 proof)& Beefeater Wet - Both now discontinued. Beefeater 24 launched 2009, Beefeater Burrough's Reserve launched April 2013.|
Beefeater Gin is a brand of gin owned by Pernod Ricard and bottled and distributed in the United Kingdom, by the company of James Burrough. Beefeater remained in the Burrough’s family control until 1987. It is a 47% alcohol product (94 proof in the US), and a 40% alcohol product (80 proof) elsewhere in the world (including the UK) (note proof is calculated differently in the US from elsewhere). 40% alcohol is 80 proof in the US.
The name refers to the Yeomen Warders who are the ceremonial guards of the Tower of London. The Beefeater distillery is one of nine currently still operational in London itself - this includes East London Liquor Company, City of London Distillery, Half Hitch Gin, Sipsmith, Bermondsey Distillery, Thames Distillers, 58 Gin, Sacred Microdistillery and The London Distillery Company.
According to the Beefeater website, Beefeater Gin contains nine different botanicals: juniper, angelica root, angelica seeds, coriander seeds, liquorice, almonds, orris root, seville oranges, and lemon peel. Unique to Beefeater’s production is the steeping of the peel of lemons and Seville oranges, whole juniper berries and other natural botanicals for a full 24 hours prior to distillation. This long process allows for a full extraction of flavour from the botanicals, capturing a wide range of volatile oils. The distillation itself takes around eight hours to complete, overseen by master distiller Desmond Payne – with the spirit then taken to Scotland where it is blended and bottled at 40% ABV.
47% ABV is common in the USA.
A super premium version of Beefeater was launched in Syon House on 30 October 2009. Beefeater '24' with its additional botanicals of Chinese Green tea and rare Japanese Sencha was the creation of master distiller Desmond Payne.
Beefeater is exported to over 100 countries across the globe, with annual sales of over 2.3 million nine-litre cases. There are fewer than 10 employees at the Kennington Distillery in London.
Beefeater’s history can be traced back to 1862, when James Burrough, born 1835, bought the Cale Street-based Chelsea distillery from Rectifier & Compounder, John Taylor, for the sum of £400 and started to produce his own distinctive style of gin by 1863. At first, the distillery continued with the production of liqueurs as previously started by its previous owners, further establishing its reputation and extending its customer base.
The 1876 company stock lists showed an increasing portfolio of gins with brand names such as Ye Old Chelsea and James Bourrough London Dry, as well as Old Tom styles. By spending time experimenting, inventing and using new processes he discovered that blending a particular recipe of botanicals produced a bold, full-flavoured gin, which he named Beefeater Gin.
After the almost instant success of the gin, it was soon made the James Burrough Company’s flagship product. The original Beefeater recipe book dated 1895, specifies that nine botanicals are essential (juniper, angelica root, angelica seeds, coriander seeds, liquorice, almonds, orris root, seville oranges and lemon peel) to create the full-bodied and robust flavour so distinct in this gin.
As the James Burrough's Company went into rapid expansion, there was a requirement to increase distilling capacity and in 1908 a new larger Beefeater distillery was built in Lambeth.
The Beefeater production moved in 1958 to Kennington, London. English still manufacture John Dore was commissioned to create a new larger set of copper stills mimicking those of the former Chelsea Distillery.
In February, 2013, Pernod Ricard announced that the company would begin construction of a visitor centre at the existing Beefeater Distillery site.
The method of steeping and distilling devised by James Burrough in the 1860s along with the secret recipe he created remains virtually unchanged.
Beefeater's basic London Dry Gin, which tends to be priced in the middle of the price spectrum for gins, has generally performed well at international spirit ratings competitions. The London Dry earned one double gold, two gold, two silver and two bronze medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition between 2006 and 2012. It received relatively impressive scores of 93 and 94 from the Beverage Testing Institute in 2005, 2008, and 2009. The higher-end "24" gin, meanwhile, has earned strong scores as well, receiving a gold medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2010 and silver medals in 2011 and 2012.
- "Proof66.com Summary of London Dry's scores". Retrieved 2012-10-18.
- "Proof66.com Summary of Beefeater 24 Gin scores". Retrieved 2012-10-18.
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