Since 2008, the Chase family have slowly but surely been building a portfolio of gins, vodkas and liqueurs that have allowed them to become the representative distillery for British provenance and quality the world over.
The story of Chase Gin begins with a reputable potato farming family that diversified from a supplier of potatoes to supermarkets to the creators and producers of Tyrell crisps in 2002. In 2004 William Chase set about making vodka from his potatoes and in 2007 installed a still and started to produce Chase Vodka. Another year later and Chase Gin was being produced.
The initial process required to create vodka and gin is pretty similar – you need to create a neutral base spirit that has been distilled to above 96% ABV. Vodka is in essence a refined, high quality neutral spirit that has been reduced to bottling strength. To create gin however, you then need to flavour the neutral spirit with other botanicals, with juniper as the predominant flavour, before reducing it to bottling strength. There’s a saying that all gin is flavoured vodka, and while this is usually intended as a derogatory comment aimed at demeaning both, it is quite accurate. Therefore, changing or altering the base spirit matters as it is never “neutral” or tasteless as one might imagine.
After creating their potato based vodka, William Chase and the team turned their attention to producing a gin from it. GB Gin, Single Estate Gin and Seville Orange Gin are all made from their potato based vodka made from potatoes grown on their own farm and distillery estate. It takes 16 tonnes of potatoes to make 1000 litres of alcohol, which makes it a crazily labour intensive method to make a base spirit, and whilst apples are better, the majority of Chase Products use the potato based spirit.
Chase Distillery wanted to create a lighter, yet still crisp Gin – something they couldn’t achieve from the potato based spirit they had first created. After many tests and trials they used Apples from the Estates orchards to produce Naked Chase Vodka with a crisp citric undertone on the apple base. Chase took their new Apple based vodka and infused it with juniper, coriander, angelica, liquorice, orris, orange and lemon peel, hops, elderflower and fresh Bramley apples. Williams Gin was born with more floral notes and lighter flavours.
The “from field to bottle” ethos and being able to show where the ingredients are grown is something that is core to the team’s belief. Knowing where and how something is made is a powerful message that the Chase team has in abundance – their Herefordshire provenance is core to the success of their gin.