Gin maker Beefeater opens its doors

The only major brand of gin still made in London is planning a "Home of Gin" centre to attract tourists and locals to its base in Kennington.

Beefeater Gin has been made in the capital since 1860 and the new centre will now reveal exactly how it is made. Beefeater's owner, Pernod Ricard, is building the centre as part of the £40m it invests each year in its gin and whisky brands.

Gin has come a long way since Hogarth's 1751 engraving Gin Lane, which depicted the deprived and poor addicted to gin. The spirit has becoming fashionable again, boosted by the popularity of cocktails.

Beefeater is the latest gin maker to expand in the capital. City of London Dry Gin opened a distillery last year while the "microdistiller" Sipsmith opened in 2009.

Beefeater's master distiller, Desmond Payne, who has 45 years' experience, will oversee the project.

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