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Boss of Norwich gin firm holds tests after bottle found to contain ‘too little alcohol’

PUBLISHED: 13:27 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:54 29 May 2020

Russell Evans, of Bullards gin. Pic: Archant

Russell Evans, of Bullards gin. Pic: Archant

The head of Norwich gin firm Bullards said they were testing their distillation process after trading standards officers found an alcohol shortage in one of its bottles.

The Bullards pouch which gets delivered in a flat box through your letterbox and can refill the bottles. Pic: BullardsThe Bullards pouch which gets delivered in a flat box through your letterbox and can refill the bottles. Pic: Bullards

A bottle of Bullards strawberry and black pepper gin contained too much water and not enough alcohol after a spot check at a pub by council officials.

Russell Evans, who runs the firm based in Cattle Market Street, said they were now carrying out stringent tests on all parts of the gin-making process to find out what went wrong. Possible causes range from the strawberries used containing too much water to a pump failing.

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“Anyone drinking the gin would not notice the difference but we are working with trading standards to go back step by step through our process. It was just one batch and we will be looking at the particular strawberries we used as well as going through all our processes. We are creating something special and the skill is the repetition of doing that, over and over again.”

Bullards gin. A bottle of the strawberry and black pepper was found to contain too low amounts of alcohol. Pic: ArchantBullards gin. A bottle of the strawberry and black pepper was found to contain too low amounts of alcohol. Pic: Archant

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The gin was picked up by trading standards out of the county late last year at a pub where the gin was a new one being sold.

As a matter of course, new drinks get tested by officials, who then passed their findings to Norfolk County Council.

After analysis, the alcohol content in the one bottle of gin from the pub was determined as 33.4pc rather than the 40pc stated. A drink with a declared alcohol content of 40pc is permitted to contain anything from 39.7-40.3pc, so it fell short of the permitted range.

The trading standards report stated “the alcohol content found was low and outside the permitted tolerance...a 70cl bottle would therefore provide 23 UK units of alcohol rather than the 28 UK units indicated on the food labelling.”

Bullards has been producing hand sanitiser throughout the coronavirus outbreak, now selling to local businesses such as motor dealers and golf courses that need it to reopen.

It is hoping to bring out sanitiser in a glass bottle for use in the home, which can then be refilled using pouches, just like the gin.

Bullards launched the gin pouches earlier this year; whereby you keep your glass bottle of gin after drinking it, then order a refill which comes flat packed, so it fits through your letterbox.


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