Today Nick Mosley and Nathalie Gomez de Vera speak to Matt Wilson of Foxhole Spirits in Bolney.

What’s the concept of Foxhole Spirits?

Foxhole Spirits specialises in the creation and production of high quality, premium spirits with a focus on using otherwise unused resources, promoting sustainability and creativity within the drinks industry. Our gin is created using the rare and valuable by-products from the Sussex grape harvest. The unused juice is pressed from the grapes before being fermented and distilled twice –once to create the grape spirit, and again with our botanicals and neutral spirit to create the gin –, a process which helps to reduce wastage from the English Wine industry and helps to make Foxhole Gin beautifully balanced, smooth and aromatic with flavours that subtly change with each new vintage.

What input does Sam Linter, head winemaker at Bolney Estate, have in the process?

Sam is an executive director and shareholder of Foxhole Spirits, with her role being on the strategic side of the business acting as chairperson. Her directorship also enables us to maintain our close working relationship with Bolney Wine Estate, as their raw material and winemaking skills are crucial to the production of Foxhole Gin. Sam’s day-to-day focus remains with Bolney Wine Estate and making high quality English Wine.

Are you utilising all of your waste or is there scope for more production?

We are currently working in close partnership with Bolney Wine Estate to maximise the amount of by-product we can collect each harvest. There is significant scope to utilise more by-product, not only from our existing relationship with Bolney Wine Estate but with any of the now more than 500 vineyards planted in the UK. This issue of underutilising by-product from wineries is a national one, and we can step in to assist with the challenge.

Why do you think localised small batch spirit production has taken off in the past few years?

This is mostly due to the huge increase in quality that small producers have been able to achieve over the large brands. Working on a small batch level really enables lots of different styles, flavours and ideas influenced by the fairly loose regulation about how gin can be produced. Consumers clearly like this, as do bartenders, and it gives them a fantastic canvas for producers to be creative with.

Where in Brighton, London and internationally are you looking to market Foxhole?

We currently work with a number of bars, restaurants and shops across the South East, the UK and within the EU. We tend to find that bartenders love the versatility and complexity of Foxhole Gin, leading to many exciting drinks and cocktails being created.

As a result, establishments with a focus on quality will continue to be where we focus.

Brighton is a particularly important market for us, as the city has an ever growing quality food and drink scene, along with customers that have an interest in the sustainable side of life, with Foxhole Gin fitting with both of these ethoses perfectly.