Tell us briefly about yourself
I’m Damian Best, co-found of DedBest Distillery, a small batch distillery located just outside Lewes on Crockstead Farm. I started the business a couple of years ago with my best mate Bob Dedman.
What prompted you to open the distillery?
A combination of lockdown Covid blues and a lifelong passion for booze.
With so many craft gins in Sussex what differentiates your product and business approach from the competition?
Firstly the flavour. The tasting notes of hibiscus and lemongrass are like no other gin out there. The bottle is dark unlike the vast majority of gin products – have you ever seen gin sold in a Calvados bottle before? Our approach is always with a smile and a joke.
Where can people buy Contractors Gin? Is there a reason you’ve focussed locally rather than – say in London – or further afield?
We have focussed locally because that is a strong selling point: people buy local. Of course we have aspirations so supply further afield, hence why our name and branding has a far reaching potential. We travel far and wide for different shows and events so we are gradually spreading out.
You’ve just launched a vodka – a very competitive category. What makes your product stand out?
Our vodka is charcoal filtered – but not only that – its filtered through charcoal made from Sussex Oak supplied by our friends at Sussex Timber Company. It’s a collaboration project between us and Josh Harper from Pick Your Poison. The charcoal removes impurities from the liquid and creates a very smooth spirit.
Can people visit the distillery?
People can absolutely visit the distillery! You can wander around the beautiful farm mixing with the animals, drink a few cocktails and learn about us and our processes. You can even have a go at making your own gin and take the bottle home. If you want to make a night of it then you can also stay over in one of our luxury yurts or off-grid cabin! Just email email@example.com for all details.
Are you attending any events in the run up to Christmas?
We are all over the place in the run up to Christmas: Glasgow, Hastings, Manchester, Farnham, Petworth, Swindon, Weybridge, Winchester and Gloucester. We have recently forged a relationship with Laines Pub Co in Brighton and will be celebrating at The Signalman with live music and cocktails on 10 November.
What is your long term objective for the business?
To expand organically and grow into larger production so we can make lots of money and share it with all our family and friends! We’re also looking more at the contract distilling side of things – working with new brands, developing recipes and helping them get started.
Find out more at www.dedbestdistillery.com