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Salcombe Story

Our Origins

  • 1800

    Salcombe is a small, obscure fishing port, primarily known for its unsavoury reputation as a haunt of smugglers.

  • 1835

    Salcombe shipyards industry matures, and are turning out large numbers of ‘Salcombe Fruiters’ to support the lucrative fruit trade. These small schooners are fine-lined vessels built for speed and specially adapted to race home with cargoes of highly perishable fruit from the Azores, Iberia and the Mediterranean to the ports of London, Liverpool, Bristol and Hull.

  • 1865

    Steamships now built elsewhere in numbers and beginning to compete for the Azores orange and Mediterranean dried fruit trades.

  • 1890

    Salcombe Fruiters building industry now dying off due to steamships taking over fruit trade, many of the fruit schooners now used for the Newfoundland stockfish trade instead 1930: Last voyage of a Salcombe Schooner for the Stockfish trade; the 114 ton schooner Lady St. John.

  • 1930

    Last voyage of a Salcombe Schooner for the Stockfish trade; the 114 ton schooner Lady St. John.

  • 1951

    The Island Cruising Club (ICC) is founded in Salcombe, with its maiden vessel ‘Provident’ an ex-Brixham trawler of 78 tons TM. Through the following years the ICC grows it fleet substantially, branching out into dinghies as well as keel boats.

  • 1976

    The ICC acquires an ex-Wallasey Ferry 'Egremont' as a floating HQ. Egremont provides on board accommodation for the students, a pontoon for boats, a good sized galley/saloon and of course the cosy and essential Pugwash Bar.

  • 1995

    Howard and Angus meet when teaching sailing at the Island Cruising Club, and begin their ritual of a sundowner gin & tonic at Salcombe Yacht Club overlooking the estuary as a regular way to conclude the days sailing.

  • 2014

    After pursuing separate careers for a number of years whilst staying in touch, Howard and Angus meet again to discuss their aspirations. Salcombe Distilling Co is born from a common love of Salcombe and Gin, further supported by Howard’s desire to build a Devon company with an exceptional product and Angus’ burgeoning interest in the distillation of spirits.

  • 2015

    Architect’s plans are finalised, planning permission is approved and building work begins on Salcombe Distilling Co’s distillery ‘The Boathouse’ in Island St, Salcombe.

  • 2016

    Inspired by the cargo manifest lists from the old Salcombe Fruiters trading routes, Howard's and Angus' part science, part magic process of developing Salcombe Gin’s recipe through numerous iterations and blind tastings completes, the Distillery building is finished and Salcombe Gin is launched.

  • 2017

    Salcombe Gin scoops up a plethora of awards including Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards, Gold at the World Gin Awards and 3 stars at the Great Taste Awards. In March the gin school opens to great acclaim and quickly becomes booked up with sessions in high demand. The team grows rapidly, peaking at over 20 people during the busy Summer months and during this time the innovative yacht gin delivery service is launched with support from our friends at Ribeye.


The Adventure Continues...

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