Sipsmith pioneered the current UK movement of both craft Gins and craft distilling as a whole. It started with two years' work to be granted license for production, owing to laws a couple of hundred years old which were introduced to stop illegal Gin production and to end the destructive Gin-drinking epidemic.
The Sipmiths; Jared, Sam & Fairfax
Once Sipsmith had persuaded the authorities to make their enterprise legal in 2009 (with the help of references to Scotland's Whisky distilleries), the way was paved for all the other small distilleries which have appeared since. Theirs was the first distillery in London since 1823, but now new ones are popping up all over the place.
Over the last six years, Sipsmith's Gin and Sipping Vodka have won numerous awards, and The Times recently labelled Sipsmith Sloe Gin 'Britain's best sloe gin'. See the full Sipsmith range here, and read about 31DOVER.com's visit to the Sipsmith distillery (in a garage) a couple of years ago.
Here's a great little video documentary on the Sipsmith story, by the Gin Foundry:
We just tasted the Sipping Vodka for the first time today. Wow. None of us knew Vodka could be like that and we all instantly decided to keep a bottle in stock at home. We tried it at room temperature, and it was mouth-filling and soft as ...milk (?) and slightly sweet. It tastes a little of vanilla and hints at the British barley it's made from.
The Damson Vodka is mouthwateringly fruity, and the Sloe Gin apparently tastes like Logistics Director Chris' nan's cooking. More accessibly put, it is fruity and delicious but not too sweet; it's complex and serious and interesting and yummy.