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Couple who started making gin during lockdown now own England’s smallest distillery

They currently sell to bars and supermarkets and have recently sold their 200th bottle but have applied for a license to sell to customers online.

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Stuart Bridge along with his partner Claire are the proud owners of England's Smallest fully licensed Gin Distillery after converting their shed into the Little Devil Distillery in 2021. (Tristan Potter via SWNS)

 By Adam Dutton via SWNS

A couple who started making their own gin as a hobby during lockdown have set up England’s smallest distillery – in their garden shed.

Stewart Bridge and Claire Ashford produce nine gins – including the most popular marshmallow and glitter flavor – as well as super-hot chili vodka.

They now produce 500 bottles of spirits a month after receiving their official brewing licence.

The couple make their booze from their refurbished shed in the garden of their bungalow in Irchester, England.

They believe they are the owners of the smallest distillery in the country.

Stuart Bridge along with his partner Claire are the proud owners of England's Smallest fully licensed Gin Distillery after converting their shed into the Little Devil Distillery in 2021. (Tristan Potter via SWNS)

Stewart, 39, said: “I think we might be the smallest fully licensed distillery in England.

“I’d been producing my own beer, wine and cider for a long time, then during lockdown we discovered gin.

“I used to absolutely hate gin, I was a whisky man. I started going to local gin and rum festivals.

“You get quick results, roughly within 24 hours. With beer it takes months.”

The couple invested £40,000 ($52,225) into their business, which they called Little Devil Distillery, and kitted out their 10ft by 28ft shed at their home with fermenters and stills last year.

They currently sell to bars and supermarkets and have recently sold their 200th bottle but have applied for a license to sell to customers online.

Stewart said he and fiancee Claire experimented with more than 100 gin flavors before developing the top nine which include the popular marshmallow tipple which is 45 per cent proof and costs £39.99 ($52.21).

He added: “We wanted some flavors that are common so that people recognize it. And we wanted some out there one’s.

“I made the marshmallow gin and thought it looked dull. Some friends suggested edible glitter so we tested loads of different colors of glitter.

“When people taste it and I see their eyes toll into the back of their head, it’s such a great feeling to know that my product has touched their brain. Food and drink is really quite a personal experience.”

Stuart Bridge along with his partner Claire are the proud owners of England's Smallest fully licensed Gin Distillery after converting their shed into the Little Devil Distillery in 2021. (Tristan Potter via SWNS)
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Stewart was diagnosed with autism as a child but he says making his wacky gins has improved his mental health.

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 also have ADHD so hobbies have been fleeting, but the science and the chemistry for making the gins really scratched an itch.

“I’ve been so fortunate and I want to give something back to other people with autism.”

The couple are also aiming to be more environmentally friendly and eventually produce solar-powered gin.

Claire, 45, said: “We want to be one of England’s first carbon negative distillery.

“We plan to grow some of our botanicals on our property. We also plan to get solar panels to make sun powered gin.

“We only buy our energy from renewable energy sources.”

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