It’s All About Me!!!

Welcome to Wessex Spirits and The Gin Palace. I’m Kate and I make all the gin around here! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking a look at my website and taking the time to read my ramblings. It really does mean a lot to me because my little business means a lot to me.

The short story is that I make gin! I handcraft gin using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. I make everything myself on site at my beautiful 17th Century coaching inn in Andover, Hampshire. I specialise in making own label, bespoke gin for clients and have around 8 of my own gin brands. Since moving to the lovely Gin Palace in 2021 I also now offer a quirky and unique event space over two floors including a lavish downstairs bar and three further upstairs tasting rooms available for gin tasting, room hire and corporate bookings. The bar is open on Thursdays from 6pm, Fridays from 4pm (with drinks deals 4-7!) and Saturdays from 7pm to walk in and try the gins. Every gin I make is on the bar including the bespoke gins; so they change each week. Currently there are about 15 gins to try, cocktails, mocktails, spirits Prosecco, wine and bottled beer. The Gin Palace also shares the same building as The Andover Tap with an internal door, so do come and join us even if you don’t like gin (sharp intake of breath) as you can grab a craft ale  from our friends next door.

If you’re comfy, have a large g&t to hand and fancy reading the long story here goes … I should warn you that I used to be a secondary English teacher – so I like to write. A lot.

Wessex Spirits started life as Test Valley Gin back in February 2017. I started out making just the one gin in the annexe in my Grandad’s garden! Inspired by my mum’s sloe gin I wanted to make something completely different so I created a savoury gin infused with fresh basil and thyme. Fully intending to return to teaching when my youngest child started school I bumbled along thinking the worst thing that could happen was that I would be left with 50 bottles of gin; not a massive problem for me! But instead of going back to teaching I made more gin and changed the business name to Wessex Spirits (based on Thomas Hardy’s Wessex – can’t escape my English teacher roots!)

I left Gramps in peace a year later and moved to my own premises in Andover in January 2018 where I started making bespoke gin for other people. That’s now my speciality. I love to work with clients choosing ingredients that help to tell their story and creating designs that they love.

In September 2021 a new chapter opened as Wessex Spirits moved to its current and forever home in the 17th Century coaching inn that used to be The Lamb Inn, Andover. With the new location came loads more space so I still handcraft all gins on site but I also now have a beautiful bar downstairs which is open on Thursdays, Friday and Saturday nights for drinks and three further rooms upstairs which can be hired for private parties, gin tasting, cocktail making, meeting and office space – anything you can think of really. I share the space with The Andover Tap, a pub serving locally crafted beers, ales and other drinks. It’s so nice to have company again, I spent so long working alone. And our two little businesses share the same values of focussing on locally sourced produce of a really high quality, providing community space and bringing everyone together.

In July of 2023, I took the plunge and I asked gin pixie Vikki to come and work for me, full time. Here is her story… 

Hello there gin lovers! My name is Vikki and I am the bar manager and business development manager for Wessex Spirits. I worked for Kate for a little over a year, just working a couple of shifts a week after leaving quite a toxic pub environment when I started to learn more about Wessex Spirits. The more i learned about the bespoke gin making etc, i would go away in my spare time and start making Kate some social media posts, some flyers and just taking my time to make some cool things for Kate to use on the socials. This then escalated into me  coming in on my days off and just helping Kate around the bar and just hanging out! Then in June of 2023, Kate asked me to come to the coffee shop with her, (she had asked me not long before to look after the place when she went on holiday so I thought it was going to be about that!) where she offered me a full time job. I have not once looked back. I can manage a bar with my eyes closed… I don’t as I am super clumsy, but learning a new job in being the BDM was a whole new level. I then took it upon myself (sorry Kate) to open more hours, to introduce more cocktails, to rearrange the bar, to bring in more drink options, to bring in bottomless brunch, to start cocktail masterclasses. In the end, Kate just tells me to get on with it, when my brain is whirring with ideas, it does not stop! 

Here is to many many more years with Kate and the heart of Wessex Spirits and I mean it when I say, this job changed my life, and so has Kate.  The fact that I recently asked Kate, while she wasn’t looking “what type of hats do these guys wear” and she knew I meant what type of bottle seals do the summer solstice bottles have on them, shows that we have become one! 

 Here is to many more years with Kate and I taking over the world! 

Do come and visit us, we would absolutely love to meet you. 

Thank you so much


Kate, Vikki and The Gin Pixies – Lois, Ben, Carla and Lily x

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