WELCOME TO THE PARK LANE CHAMPAGNE BLOG, NICK.
WE'D LOVE OUR READERS TO KNOW A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT FOXDENTON. HOW DID IT ALL START?
Foxdenton Estate Company has been making fruit gins commercially for the last ten years and as a family, we have been making these for many decades. Our company was started by my grandfather Major C R E Radclyffe to preserve a small part of the English countryside he loved.
I took this small Estate Company over in 2001 after my father died and started changing our focus. We disposed of the ground rents which had traditionally provided the income from the land that had been sold off for development. As a country family, we had always made our own fruit liqueurs to take out shooting and it is was on one such day that the idea for the current Foxdenton range was born. One of my oldest friends commented on how good our plum gin was and that we could easily sell it to others. From that one brief discussion sometime in 2007, I started looking at how we could produce with more than just the fruit from our garden full of fruit trees.
I also had to get to grips with the constraints of dealing with HMRC. Not only did I have to get a personal license and a premises license but I also had to become authorised to hold goods in duty suspense (WOWGR), learn how to make our products in volume as well as develop a brand.
Fortunately, my oldest son had just left education and joined in helping start the business. By the time he left to search for gold in the streets of London, we had grown to the point of producing both fruit gins as well as our own London Dry Gin. By a stroke of fortune my youngest son was prepared to come and help me after running his own Coffee business and between us and my other half, we have grown the business to over seven people including my oldest son who has luckily come back to help run our digital marketing and deal with the huge growth in internet shopping.
As we have grown we have continued to focus on supporting farming across the UK as one of our key concerns. We buy fruit from farms across the UK and try to be a good and loyal customer. We never grade out fruit on cosmetic grounds nor do we penalise farmers when they supply more than expected or less, as we know that sometimes Mother Nature can be both generous and parsimonious. At harvest time we get as much as we can under gin in our large stainless steel vats
and what we can’t take we then send to one of our supplier farms who has an IQF (individually quick frozen) freezer system and they store many tons of our fruit in their amazing hi-tech cold store.
We support the farms by sticking to fair prices and not trying to cut prices when there is a glut nor looking overseas when there is a shortage. 2018 was a great year for most fruit but our Apricot growers in the Isle of Wight suffered terribly from the “Beast from the East” and their entire crop was lost. Rather than buy fruit elsewhere in Europe we just had to accept that we would have less Apricot gin to sell until the 2019 harvest.
We hope by supporting farms and farmers across the UK we can continue to produce the very finest traditional English fruit gin liqueur.
THANK YOU SO MUCH NICK!