The female head distiller making waves at Burleighs Gin of Leicestershire

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Distilling is traditionally a male pursuit. There’s no reason why it should be – except the shackles of history – but many more men make gin, vodka, rum and whisky than women. The same is true for brewing.

However, things are changing. The gin boom is creating more women distillers. And one is Charlie Hendon, head distiller at Burleighs Gin of Leicestershire.

Charlie’s career began at Derby Brewing Company, where she developed a passion for brewing and distillation. Joining Burleighs Gin in 2018, she found her feet under the guidance of Master Distiller Jamie Baxter before taking over Burleighs’ distillation and product development.

“It’s a great time to be a woman in the gin industry,” says Charlie. “A world that was predominantly led by men is increasingly being shaped and influenced by women. The popularity of gin has opened many opportunities for distillers to hone their creativity and skills.”

Located in Leicestershire’s Charnwood Forest, every bottle of Burleighs Gin is distilled by Charlie on a 450-litre copper-pot still. They are enjoyed as far afield as Malaysia & Thailand.

Charlie’s first creation as Burleighs head distiller is the limited-edition Enchanted Woodland Gin, released in January 2020. It’s a classic London Dry Gin distilled with bilberries, elderberry and lemon. A limited number of bottles are available here.

Charlies says: “My advice to women looking to enter the gin industry is to be confident and show a willingness to learn. You never know how far your passion might take you. Being the head distiller of an international gin brand once felt a distant dream, but now the sky is the limit.”

If gin distilling sounds like your dream job, you can try your hand at Burleighs Gin Academy. Working with Charlie, you’ll gain a unique insight into gin, enjoy behind-the-scenes access to Burleighs Distillery and craft a bottle of gin to your own recipe.

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