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Our salcombe Story



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



Salcombe’s shipyard industry matures, and the yards turn out large numbers of ‘Salcombe Fruiters’ to support the lucrative fruit trade. These small schooners were 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.



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



As the steamships take over the fruit trade, the Salcombe Fruiters building industry dies off with many of the Fruit Schooners being used for the Newfoundland stockfish trade instead.



The last known voyage of a Salcombe Schooner takes place for the Stockfish trade; the 114 ton Schooner Lady St. John.



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 its fleet substantially, branching out into dinghies and keel boats.



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.



Co-founders Angus and Howard first meet whilst working as sailing instructors 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.



After pursuing successful careers elsewhere, Angus and Howard find themselves back in Devon and meet up to discuss their business aspirations.

With Angus’ burgeoning interest in the distillation of spirits and Howard’s desire to build a company in Devon with exceptional products, Salcombe Distilling Co. was born from their common love of gin and the stunning coastal town of Salcombe.



A site on Island Street, Salcombe is secured, architect’s plans are finalised, and planning permission is approved.

Building work begins on Salcombe Distilling Co’s distillery ‘The Boathouse’.



Inspired by the citrus cargoes that the Salcombe Fruiters once carried from exotic trading routes; the co-founders finalise the recipe for their first gin ‘Start Point’ after months of numerous iterations and blind tastings.

Created using the one shot method to the exacting ‘London-Dry’ standard, it is initially distilled in small batches on 60l copper pot stills and is launched to great acclaim in July.

The ‘Boathouse’ build completes and the distillery and tasting bar open in November.

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Provident, our beautiful 450l copper pot still is installed and ‘Start Point’ scoops 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 and quickly becomes a learning experience in high demand. Within six months of opening, the Gin School receives its first award from Food Drink Devon for Best Training School.

The summer sees the launch of our innovative yacht gin delivery service with support from our friends at Ribeye.

The team grows rapidly throughout 2017 to support all areas of the business.

 Photo by Guy Harrop. Pic of Salcombe Gin

image copyright guy harrop
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The Victuallers, our retail and experience space opens in Spring and ‘Start Point’ and our cask aged gin ‘Finisterre’ continue to receive a number of sought after accolades for their exceptional taste.

The summer sees the launch of our new Voyager Series gins, our unique Gin Butler service and the return of our innovative gin delivery service for visiting yachts.

In addition, the co-founders venture from Salcombe to the Solent as part of their Spirit of Salcombe Adventures. Watch the highlights below.