About us

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History of Gin

The History of Gin

The City of London has a rich gin history. During the Gin Craze in the 18th century there was a gin distillery or gin shop in every street in the City benefiting from the spices and citrus fruits coming in to the port of London.

When the Gin Craze ended, very few gin distilleries survived, and for nearly 200 years there wasn’t a single gin distillery in the City. That is until the City of London Distillery opened in 2012.

Over these 200 years gin distilling techniques improved, and gin became more refined with more subtle flavours.  Gin was big business and London Dry Gin became the most popular type of gin. Then came the next gin revolution with the advent of the small-batch micro-distilleries, like us, bringing variety, interest and experimentation; new botanicals, new combinations, new gins.

City of London Distillery Authentic Gin close up

Our story

The City of London Distillery opened on 20th December 2012 inside Jonathan Clark’s cocktail bar in Bride Lane, within the City of London.

The production of gin began on a pair of 200L copper stills named Clarissa and Jennifer (named after ‘The Two Fat Ladies’ of the BBC food show). Our first gin, loyal to our roots, was a classic London Dry Gin – followed soon after by our celebration of the City of London – Square Mile gin. Since then we’ve added a very popular Sloe gin, an Old Tom gin, a Christopher Wren gin as well as the contemporary flavours Six Bells Lemon Gin, Murcian Orange Gin and Rhubarb and Rose Gin to our range.


In 2016 a larger 500L pot still was bought in alongside the original pair to scale up production. This new larger still was launched in 2016 to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and named Elizabeth accordingly.

The goal of The City Of London Distillery has always been to bring back and maintain the heritage and history of London’s gin production while looking to new contemporary ideas.