It’s time to discover Cornwall’s first single estate ‘Plough to Bottle’ distillery, Gin School and visitor centre at the Colwith Farm Distillery. Our love affair with artisanal food and drink has led to many a producer opening their doors to the tourism trade and distillers are no exception, yet this centre is very different from any other in the south west.
Colwith Farm Distillery is owned by the Dustow’s, their story dates back to 1904 when Stafford Dustow bought the 200-acre Colwith Farm located between Lostwithiel and Fowey, five generations have farmed the land ever since. The Dustow’s first planted potatoes during World War II to feed the nation and it’s this tradition that is at the very heart of the distillery.
Fifth generation Steve has taken the humble potato to new levels by distilling it into Vodka which is named Aval Dor (Cornish for potato), a project which started in 2014. A year later a Gin was created starting with Aval Dor as the base spirit using botanicals foraged from the farm, this they named Stafford’s Gin after Steve’s great great grandfather.
As Steve quite rightly points out, there are now plenty of companies producing Gin in Cornwall however, the Dustow’s are the first to bring the whole process under one roof.
Construction began on the distillery in 2017 thanks to a South and East Cornwall Local Action Group (SELAG), this is a programme which is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The 45-minute tour cost £15 per adult, visitors are greeted with a series of story boards starting with the history of the farm over the last 114 years with an overall message of how important provenance is to the family. After this you are taken through the step by step process from chipping and cooking the potatoes through to distillation and bottling. The tour ends in the bar with a tasting of the home-grown spirits. Better still, why not try the Gin Masterclass for 2 starting at £79.
Colwith Cosmopolitan recipe
30ml Aval Dor Vodka
30ml Grand Marnier
10ml fresh lemon juice
20ml cloudy apple juice, we recommend Cornish apple juice from Polgoon Orchard
Garnish with apple ash
Using a spirit base of Aval Dor vodka lends a unique aroma to produce this variation of an iconic vodka cocktail. Created with a substitute bitter orange liqueur, couple with sharp acidity from fresh lemons and complex sweetness from pressed apple juice. A well-balanced take on a classic cocktail.