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Lumber's Bartholomew gin, from Newbury's 137 Distillery, rated three stars by Great Taste

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Spirits are high this week at a Newbury gin makers as it celebrates winning a top award from the world’s largest guild of gourmet food and wines, Great Taste, writes Fiona Paus.

Micro-distillery 137 Distillery, based on the premises of The Newbury pub in Bartholomew Street, achieved the highest possible commendation of three stars for its Berkshire Dry Gin - and two stars for its London Dry.

Pete Lumber, master distiller for Lumber Distillers, owner of 137 Distillery and concocter of the winning gins, was thrilled with the award. He said: “To be quite honest I feel ecstatic, all the hard work has paid off. With the pandemic as well, it's an amazing feeling knowing our success has carried on.”

Pete Lumber celebrates his award-winning gin (51736841)
Pete Lumber celebrates his award-winning gin (51736841)

The judges, who blind tested the gins, were impressed with the Berkshire bottle, claiming: “We loved the zing of the ginger notes, with dark chocolate and biscuit essences but with a buzzy prickliness of pepper spice and a sweet citrus note. The layers of complexity and lingering finish were really impressive.”

According to Mr Lumber this wasn’t the first time this gin had gained recognition from the board. He said: “The judges were very pleased that I got one star in 2019, two stars in 2020 and now three stars in 2021, they could see that I’d worked on their feedback.”

The London Dry was called a "gin of the highest quality" and "a real delight" by the judges.

This year, the judging panel included buyers of luxury stores, restaurateurs, authors and television presenters. Products entered were scored on texture, appearance, composition and taste, with only 218 of the more than 14,000 entries (1.5 per cent) achieving three-stars. The institution labels products with this score as “extraordinarily tasty– don’t leave the shop without buying it!”

And Mr Lumber is not stopping his gin journey here.

“At the moment the gins are stocked in Harrods and some other retailers, but I’m hoping that this star will help put it into farm shops and eventually supermarkets,” he added.

The Berkshire Dry is now in the running to become Great Taste Supreme Champion 2021 and to be awarded a Golden Fork trophy.

For this, it will be rejudged with all other three-star products and the results will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Reception next month.

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