After being used to flavour the gin, Bombay Saphhire's 10 botanicals have two further uses
After being used to flavour the gin, Bombay Saphhire's 10 botanicals have two further uses

Bombay Sapphire case study: harnessing the power of plants

Using recycled materials in the distillery refurb has cut costs and won it environmental awards

Not only do the 10 sustainably sourced botanicals in Bombay Sapphire flavour the blue-bottled gin, but once used, they help fuel a biomass boiler that provides heat and hot water at its Hampshire distillery. Ash produced by the boiler is then used to fertilise soil on local farms.

Master of botanicals Ivano Tonutti selects these ingredients – including cubeb berries from Java, grains of paradise from Africa and juniper berries from Italy – and builds relationships with each grower. Meanwhile, the temperature in the glasshouses that showcase these plants is maintained using heat from the distillation process. 

Renewable energy is just one element of a refurbishment project that saw it become the first distillery to be labelled ‘outstanding’ by BREEAM (an environmental assessment rating) in 2014.

There were a number of challenges on the project, which is on a site of special scientific interest in Hampshire and sits above the River Test, the UK’s purest chalk stream, including temporarily relocating fish and protecting bird and bat species. 

Key building materials, including bricks and roof tiles, were reused from demolished buildings and more than 80% of the existing structure – a collection of Grade II listed buildings – was retained.

Not only is sustainability vitally important, Bombay Sapphire says also makes “financial sense, increases efficiency and (leads to) long-term operational energy and water-use savings”. The firm is proud of its achievements and highlights them to visitors on its tours and at its tasting sessions.

Since 2014, it has continued to boost its green-energy credentials by installing a hydroelectric system that uses the energy from the river Test to power the lights in its visitor attraction. The idea was not a new one – a water wheel had powered the former mill with free, clean energy – but when Bombay Sapphire arrived, there was just a hole where the wheel had been. It wanted to reinstate it and contracted a specialist supplier to find and recondition the turbine it now uses. The hydroelectric turbine, combined with solar power, provides carbon savings of around 38%. 

As a Bacardi-owned brand, Bombay Sapphire has been contributing to the company’s Good Spirited campaign, which aims to improve sustainability. Between 2006 and 2017, Bacardi reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, achieved zero waste to landfill at several sites and ensured all suppliers of sugarcane-derived products are sustainably certified.


Returning to ways of the past

There has been a mill on the site in Laverstoke since at least 903AD, says Bombay Sapphire. The first official records show it marked as a corn mill in the Domesday Book of 1086. 

In 1719 Henry Portal leased the mill and converted it to make paper. A contract to print the watermarked paper for banknotes for the Bank of England then followed in 1724. 

This contract remained in place for more than 225 years as the mill was passed down through generations of the family. 

The mill stopped making paper in 1963 and finally fell vacant in 2005. 

Bombay Spirits Company bought the site in 2010, and it was reopened after refurbishment in 2014.

This post can be based in London or York.
£28,604 to £33,158 + £3,150 London - £27,612 to £31,543 National
Maidenhead, Berkshire or Liverpool
Competitive base salary plus benefits package
Seqirus UK Limited