The Cidery and Blackwood Valley Brewing Company in Bridgetown has added another string to its bow, officially launching the Blackwood Valley Distillery last week. It is the first commercial distillery in the region, and its launch coincided with the release of the business’ new gin and an apple liqueur which were developed by distiller Dave Christie and cidery co-founder Peter Vowles respectively. Mr Christie is Mr Vowles’ son-in-law and has been intermittently experimenting with distilling gin for the past few years, teaching himself through online videos, websites and textbooks. Mr Christie, who works as a pilot, said he started taking the experimenting seriously after he was forced to stop working during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he came up with the final product after two months of recipe testing. “I thought if it’s ever going to happen, now’s the time,” he said. “It’s called Grounded Gin because I’ve been grounded from flying while the recipe was being developed, but also because there’s nothing overly experimental or out-there with it. “The aim of the gin was to make a good, solid gin that people could just pour in a gin and tonic on a hot summer day and just sit down, relax, and enjoy drinking.” Mr Christie said the gin contained 12 mostly traditional botanicals and had a well-rounded flavour profile. “It’s a very citrus-driven gin,” he said. “It’s got quite a forward citrus profile but then it’s got a floral element that comes in after. “Then it has a little bit of warmth and spice coming through, followed by a bit of sweetness on the end which lingers from the liquorice root.” Grounded Gin is now available at The Cidery in Bridgetown, with the apple liqueur to be released very soon.