The UK's Best Pub and Gin of the Month: The White Horse Inn and Chilgrove Dry Gin

Below is an excerpt from the June 2015 edition of GINNED! Magazine about Chilgrove Dry Gin. Every month, Craft Gin Club Members receive a bottle of amazing small-batch gins accompanied by GINNED! Magazine which is full of information about the gin, the distillery and loads of fascinating features.

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The White Horse Pub & Inn dates back to the 16th Century when it started out as a coaching inn. It has since remained a pub and inn albeit under different management throughout the years. The current management which bought the pub two years ago has decorated it in urban chic with a country feel which attracts lots of hunters in shooting season. In April, The White Horse was awarded the title of the UK’s Best Pub at the GQ Food & Drink awards. The Craft Gin Club spoke with the pub’s Manager, Niki Burr, about the trend towards top quality food and drink in the UK.

1. How has the shift towards top quality food and drink affected the UK pub industry?
For starters, the pub scene in particular is on the up and up. Whereas people used to go to restaurants and nice hotels when they were in search of a fine dining experience, now they’re switching over to pubs. You could even say that restaurants are being overtaken by the pub scene. This has been spurred by the rise in gastropubs serving better quality and innovative dishes as well as by the likes of Tom Kerridge whose pubs are earning Michelin stars. Food and drink in the UK is only going to get better. 

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2. How does the White Horse reflect this trend towards quality?
One of the most important points driving the pub scene is the growth of amazing products coming out of the UK particularly in the drinks arena. British craft beers are well established but craft spirits and wines are not far behind. We support several British spirits brands gaining huge followings such as Chase and Sipsmith and work with local Sussex wineries. All of our food is sourced locally: we have lobster and fresh fish from the coast; venison, pheasant and partridge during the shooting season; and our pork comes from a farm right down the road from neighbours of ours we speak to on a regular basis. A lot of pubs in the UK say that they’re local but really aren’t. We’re as local as it gets. 

3. How do you work with Chilgrove Dry Gin?
Brands like Chilgrove are exactly the type of local brands we love to work with - we put our heart into the gin when we learned it was first being made. We have a G&T menu on which Chilgrove features prominently. When guests to our hotel come in from out of town, they want to drink locally made spirits so we can now give them Chilgrove which is great. We’re situated in such a small hamlet that Chilgrove Dry Gin is really putting us on the map!