Residents Win Battle With Sipsmith Over Evening Events

Artisan distillery refused permission for late night licence


Sipsmith Gin Moving To Cranbrook Road

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Residents in the Cranbook Road area have won a battle against Sipsmith, the artisan gin distillery which wanted a late-opening premises licence in order to hold tours and private events. Sipsmith has said there was much "speculation and misunderstanding about the nature of the application".

The company moved its headquarters to Cranbrook Road, a small residential street that runs between Chiswick Lane and the High Road, last year and had applied to Hounslow Council for permission initially to open and sell alcohol between 12-noon and 1 a.m. Monday-Saturday for private pre-booked functions.

Following protests by local people who said this would affect the quality of life in a quiet family area, this was changed to an application for a licence to run from 12-8 pm six days a week (Mon-Sat) and to host tour groups of up to 45 people per time on weekdays and two on a Saturday.

But after a length meeting of Hounslow Council's Licensing Panel, Thursday (May 28) which was attended by several local residents, who complained of noise generated by tours of the distillery and argued that it affected family life, from children doing homework, to locals using their gardens, the Council decided that Sipsmith's should be granted a licence on much reduced hours. They ruled that Sipsmith's should be allowed hold events from 5pm-7 pm on weekdays and not at all on weekends. There should be a maximum of 25 people at a time per tour on site.

Fairfax Hall and Sam Galsworthy, Sipsmith founders, said in a statement: "As locals ourselves we have always striven to be an integral part of the community here in Chiswick. And, as the first traditional Distillery to open in London for nearly 200 years, our responsibility in the industry for educating, and sharing the knowledge of what truly well made spirits are, is central to who we are. 

"The main focus of the application was our Distillery Tours - where visitors consume less than two drinks in total (one welcome G&T and 3 tastings that amount to less than one drink) - which are a critical way that we responsibly engage and educate about gin.

"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.

"We originally set up 6 years ago in Nasmyth Street where we enjoyed 5 fabulous years with our Brackenbury Village neighbours and taking all the additional feedback from a number of Cranbrook Road neighbours we do hope to continue that spirit in Chiswick going forward."

A local resident said that they were relieved at the ruling.

Sipsmith produces its own London Dry Gin and a Barley Vodka, both produced in small batches of fewer than 300 bottles The distillery moved to the Chiswick premises so that it could accommodate a third copper pot still – 'Constance' - to sit alongside its existing stills 'Prudence' and 'Patience'.

The company is one of only four gin distilleries located within London's city limits. Sipsmith was launched by Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall, former employees of Fuller's and Diageo.

The site where the distillery is based

Sipsmith was originally established in London in 2009 and became the first copper-pot based distillery to start up in London in 189 years.

June 1, 2015

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