Hendrick’s unveiled its new distillery this week in Girvan, Scotland, a $17 million “Gin Palace” that represents the most significant development for the brand since its launch in 1999.
“The Hendrick’s Gin Palace in its design and experience is intended to inspire curiosity, open minds and serve as a platform for innovation. It pulls back the curtain on the wondrous production method and showcases the many layers of Hendrick’s that it has become celebrated for, some humorous, others curiously intellectual, detailed and deeply meaningful, Hendrick’s global brand director Pamela Sells said in a statement. “It represents the confidence we have in the brand that helped to kick-start the naissance and leading role it has played ever since.”
The space is surrounded by a walled garden. Step inside, and you’ll see the distillery, a Victorian-inspired palm house that holds two new still houses, a lecture theater, stylish bar, and two botanical hothouses that master distiller Lesley Gracie will use to cultivate a plethora of unusual botanicals and flora from around the world that will potentially be used in future expressions of Hendrick’s.
All those botanicals (and more) will be tested by Gracie and her team in her laboratory, also on site.
“That’s what it’s all about for me. What else can we do? What does this taste like? What does that taste like?” Gracie tells Fortune. Gracie, who has been known to distill special batches of Hendrick’s on the road, has filled the hothouses with plants from some of her travels. One trip to the village of Kanaracuni in Guyana, for instance, ended in Gracie distilling 10 liters of gin using Scorpion Tail from the area.
Her exploration of new flavors comes to life in the company’s newest expression of Hendrick’s, Orbium, a reimagining of Hendrick’s with extracts of Quinine, Wormwood, and Blue Lotus Blossom. That expression is currently only available at select bars and restaurants in the U.K. but is expected to come to the U.S. later this year.
As for the Hendrick’s we all know and love, the new still houses will also the brand to double its production. The two still houses now include six stills, four Bennett still and two Carter Head still, including the original antique copper pot still from 1860 that has been used since the brand’s beginning. The stills were made at a local coppersmith where meticulous care was taken to ensure that the new stills are identical to the originals, even down to the dents.
While the distillery has just been unveiled, the stills themselves have actually been active in the space for nearly a year.
Unfortunately, for now, that walled garden will be keeping potential visitors out. The distillery plans to only offer entrance to “select VIPs” for the time being, although that could potentially change in the future.