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The History of London Dry

The History of London Dry

In 1736, At the time of the Gin Act (introduced to curb gin consumption), the Nicholson and Bowman families set up as distillers and spirits merchants in Clerkenwell, London. The first generation of Nicholson Gin was born.


By the 1830's J&W Nicholson & Co begin developing their own London Dry style and become one of the largest and most successful distillers. Nicholson's purity became well known and it was known as "The Purest Spirit" ever made.


The London Dry flavour was developed by Nicholson in the early 1830's because Gins of that time were being distilled from all sorts of grains, some wholesome, some were destined to be waste. The grain spirits were often rough, and often sweetened or otherwise adulterated to make them palatable. The London Dry flavour was a dry style of gin which used the new continuos Cofey still to create a highly rectified nearly pure spirit. This high strength distillation removed the unpleasant flavours found in earlier gins. The result was a new, dry style which was Juniper based and used new botanicals like coriander seeds, angelica root, citrus peel and orris root. In order to protect their invention, Nicholson created their Lion which became a Kite mark for Gin Quality, many other Gin brands copied their idea, but Nicholson will always be the first.


Such was the enormous success of the Nicholson London Dry that by 1873, J&W Nicholson & Co purchase the 85,000 sq ft Three Mills Distillery and establishes a stand-alone pub group, still known today as Nicholson’s Pubs.

The story didn't stop there, by the 1920's, Nicholson London Dry was being exported all around the world to countries including the USA, Australia & Singapore.