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Sipsmith's Chiswick distillery 'disappointed' after it is refused a license for late night distillery tours

Published:  02 June, 2015

London distiller Sipsmith has been refused a late licence, after opposition from residents near its Chiswick distillery.

Last week Hounslow Council's Licensing Panel refused the gin and vodka distillery's application for a license from midday to 8pm, Monday to Saturday at its Cranbrook Road site, which would have allowed it to host distillery tours of up to 45 people. The decision followed complaints from local residents about the noise from tours of the distillery, which they argued affected family life in the quiet residential street. However, the panel granted a license allowing Sipsmith to hold events for a maximum of 25 people from 5pm-7 pm on weekdays, but not at weekends.

The London based distillery has originally wanted to open its doors and sell alcohol between midday and 1 am, Monday-Saturday for private pre-booked functions, but amended the application after opposition from residents in the surrounding area.

The decision with limit the distillery's ability to offer distillery visits and tours, which founder Fairfax Hall and Sam Galsworthy argue are critical ways to responsibly engage and educate people about gin, in which consumers typically consume less than two drinks in total.

A statement from the company said: "In applying for a license to sell where we currently distill, we were sad to see so much speculation and misunderstanding about the nature of the application and business at the Distillery. However we have been granted a licence for week night tours and warmly continue to invite any Cranbrook Road neighbour to experience one themselves at any time."

Left to right: Jared Brown, Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall keep Prudence company

The company moved to the new site - which was previously a private car park - in April 2014 to accommodate a third still, named Constance, which is now in daily use, according to Fairfax Hall. He told that sales for the company's VJOP gin, which launched in November 2013, had really taken off and the company was having difficult keeping up with demand. "Prudence, the still that makes the gin, is in use every day, but it produces less than the other gins becuase VJOP is very difficult to make and takes three days to produce. We now have Patience - our third still - up and running and have several projects in the pipeline."

Production has increased signficantly, Hall said, and the company is still keenly expanding, having added to the team over the last year, which included the appointment of an additional distiller.

When it opened in its original location in Naysmith Street in Brackenbury Village outside Hammersmith in 2009, the distillery was the first copper-pot distillery to be set up in London in more than 189 years.