London & South East

History reborn: Laverstoke Mill

 Laverstoke Mill- Bombay Sapphire

Work is now well underway on the restoration and conversion of Laverstoke Mill, Hampshire into a distillery for the world renowned gin brand Bombay Sapphire.

Sitting alongside the River Test, the site has a rich history with the first mill being recorded in the Doomsday Book of 1086 and during the 18th and 19th centuries Laverstoke Mill was used to manufacture banknotes for the British Empire.

The 20th century was not so kind to the site however and the mill languished in dereliction until plans to redevelop the site were approved last year. The site is to be completely renovated and transformed into a state of the art premium gin distillery and visitor centre encompassing the highest standards in design, functionality and sustainability.

The ambition of the multimillion pound scheme is to restore the buildings and grounds and its heritage, while introducing a new structure that will showcase Bombay Sapphire’s brand.

The design vision for the site is headed by acclaimed London designer Thomas Heatherwick and his team at Heatherwick Studio, speaking about the design Thomas Heatherwick said:

“As the particular flavours of Bombay Sapphire gin are derived from ten botanicals, the centrepiece of the site is a glass house, within which visitors will experience the specific horticultural specimens infused in the spirit.

“The glass house, influenced by Britain’s rich heritage of glass house structures, will be two separate structures providing both a humid environment for spices that originate from the tropics, as well as a dry temperate zone for Mediterranean plants. We are thrilled to have the chance to take this historic site, and turn it from its current derelict state into a new industrial facility with national significance.”

 Laverstoke Mill- Bombay Sapphire

Bombay Sapphire Global Category Director John Burke added:

“It’s a very exciting time for the Bombay Sapphire team, especially now that we’re seeing our plan for Laverstoke Mill come into fruition.

“With tradition, quality and craftsmanship at the heart of the site’s heritage, we can finally look forward to opening our doors to consumers worldwide and share with them the care, skill and imagination that is infused in the spirit we produce. Bombay Sapphire gin has experienced great success and growth over the last 10 years and with the opening of the brand’s home and consumer experience, we are very optimistic for next decade.”

The overhaul is expected to bring in up to 100,000 tourists each year and create up to 10 full time positions- in addition to the hundreds of jobs created in the construction of the distillery.

Meller ltd is the main contractor on the project and speaking about the development Meller Managing Director, Graham Cartledge said:

“Meller is proud to be leading the development of Laverstoke Mill into a world class production facility and unique visitors centre.

“Our expert team looks forward to delivering this exceptional project in a way that fulfils Bombay Sapphire’s brand aspirations and also the technical requirements of restoring a site with such heritage, environmental consideration and unique design.”

Most recently the site, which is expected to open in autumn this year, became both the first distillery and first refurbishment to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ design-stage BREEAM accreditation for its distillery process buildings.

The ‘Outstanding’ design-stage rating given to the distillery process buildings at Laverstoke Mill means the buildings have achieved the highest level of sustainable construction, and are expected to be one of the most environmentally friendly distilleries in the world.

The completed distillery will see a 60 percent reduction in carbon emissions and nearly an 85 percent improvement over what is required by building regulations. This is as a result of a number of specific technologies incorporated into the distillery’s design, including power generation from the River Test which flows through the site.

On news of the accreditation, Emma Johansson, Global Marketing Manager for Bombay Sapphire said:

“We are immensely proud of achieving this ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM accreditation. This rating, from the world’s most highly respected environmental assessment method, is a testament to all the care, skill and imagination that has ensured this distillery is built with sustainability at its very core.

“Bombay Sapphire aims to seamlessly fuse the modern requirements of a premium distillery with the original features of the rich heritage of Laverstoke Mill.”

For more information about Bombay Sapphire at Laverstoke Mill, please visit or

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Roma Publications

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