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Boss of gin firm plans to offer venue for wedding receptions

PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:15 17 December 2019

Russell Evans, chairman of Bullards Spirits, has put in a planning application to Norwich City Council to see the distillery used for big events including wedding receptions. Pic: Archant

Russell Evans, chairman of Bullards Spirits, has put in a planning application to Norwich City Council to see the distillery used for big events including wedding receptions. Pic: Archant

The man driving forward a Norwich gin firm is hoping to take his distillery to the next stage of development which will see the building open for big events including weddings.

Craig Allison; Director of Bullards, John Bullard; Director of Bullards, Richard Pratt; owner of Crystal House and [Right] Russell Evans; Chairman of Bullards, standing outside Crystal House, pictured last year.  Photo credit: Heist FilmsCraig Allison; Director of Bullards, John Bullard; Director of Bullards, Richard Pratt; owner of Crystal House and [Right] Russell Evans; Chairman of Bullards, standing outside Crystal House, pictured last year. Photo credit: Heist Films

Russell Evans, chairman of Bullards Spirits, was given planning permission a year ago to transform the historic Crystal House building in Cattle Market Street into a distillery. Now he has applied for planning to create a first floor area which can be open to the public for gin tastings and tours as well as room for a new initiative of training bartenders.

And the top floor, which was originally earmarked, subject to planning, for use as a seafood restaurant is now going to be a space available for hire for corporate events, exhibitions and wedding receptions. This will tie in with the fact Bullards has recently teamed up as a sponsor of the Norwich Castle Museum. People getting married at the castle - which hosts around 700 ceremonies a year - can get the chance of having their reception held at Crystal House, subject to the city council approving the planning application.

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"Crystal House has now been our home for a year for the making of all our gin and we now want to proceed to the next stage of development," said Mr Evans. "We've become a sponsor of the Norwich Castle Museum and hope to be able to offer our top floor for wedding receptions; it's a fabulous space in a historic building and very close to the castle and an ideal party space. However, we hope it can be also used for corporate events, for businesses to host meetings or for organisations as it's right in the heart of the city and a well-known city landmark."

Bullards, a Future50 company, took over Crystal House last year, converting the building costing in the region of £250,000. The new planning application comes as Bullards is unveiling new products for next year such as a new Norfolk Coastal gin and Mr Evans is also hoping to seal some deals which will see his gin sold in the US. Bullards has launched various partnerships this year, most recently teaming up with Debenhams to offer a pop-up shop selling bottles of gin for Christmas presents. The best-sellers remain the award-winning London Dry gin with the Old Tom and Strawberry and Black Pepper other firm favourites.

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