Since I visited in late 2016, Bimber have opened the doors of their relatively small North Acton distillery to the public, allowing everyone to get to know this forward-thinking company that, nonetheless, still respects its past. In homage to its Polish heritage, Bimber produce a wide range of vodkas, including a number of fruit-infused versions. However, these are a cut above the homely Polish home-brew from which Bimber gets its name, as their host of awards – including several medals from this year’s inaugural Bartender’s Brand Awards – testify.
One of the most anticipated openings this year has been that of The Distillery on Portobello Road, London, home to the gin of the very same name. I was blown away to receive an invitation to the opening night, and not just any invitation but a stunning box with ‘The Distillery’ emblazoned on top, containing a gilt invitation and empty bottle of Characterful Vodka to be filled up on-site on the night! And first impressions definitely lived up to expectation. The Distillery is located at the Ladbroke Grove end of Portobello Road, in an imposing building, proudly bearing the logo of Portobello Road Gin, and it promises an exceptional experience.
My father grew up in Acton but I’ve had no reason to return to his roots. Until now. At London’s Gin Festival I was lucky to meet Oscar Dodd, Brand Manager at Bimber Distillery, who invited me to visit their site in North Acton. After following the central line train tracks, which run incongruously though a peaceful cemetery, one descends into Park Royal Business Park; the largest in London occupying about 500 hectares. The park is home to McVitites and Heinz alongside a number of smaller industrial firms, as well as Amathus Drinks, Speciality Drinks and, of course, Bimber Distillery founded in August 2015.