The Bombay Sapphire Distillery, which opened just under a year ago, combines history, modern architecture and nature conservation to result in a breathtakingly beautiful, sustainable renovated mill in rural Hampshire.
Bombay Sapphire’s Sustainable Distillery
In renovating Laverstoke Mill, a 300 year old paper mill, Bombay Sapphire worked with Heatherwick Studio to preserve the natural ecology and heritage of the site. To build a long-term legacy at Laverstoke Mill, Bombay Sapphire also committed to building a sustainable future. The award-winning* sustainability measures in design and construction are at the heart of this state-of-the art distillery.
In building a modern distillery at Laverstoke Mill every reasonable effort was made to ensure the processes and buildings were as sustainable and efficient as possible. Throughout the construction process, building materials have been recycled from demolished buildings elsewhere on site, structure and facades have been retained where possible and new materials have been responsibly sourced where possible. The ecological value of the site has been enhanced through native species planting and the re-design of the riverbank to incorporate a biodiverse habitat. This included temporarily relocating over 400 fish by hand and ensuring that provisions were made for colonies of bats and a bevy of otters.
The innovative energy strategy considers the distillery as a source for a renewable fuel supply. Following distillation the spent botanicals will be used to fuel a biomass boiler providing heat and hot water to the site. The temperature in each of the glasshouses is also maintained using excess heat from the distillation process. Electricity will be generated by a hydro-electric turbine in the River Test and an array of photovoltaic cells. Restricted water flow devices are used throughout the site and are assisted by rainwater harvesting.
The Botanical Glasshouses
The most striking feature of the distillery are the stunning Glasshouses designed by Heatherwick Studio which are a perfect juxtaposition to the surrounding Georgian and Victorian architecture. These house the unique Vapour Infusion distillation process and the ten exotic botanicals that go into every drop of Bombay Sapphire.
The ten exotic plant types (juniper, lemon peel, grains of paradise, coriander, cubeb berries, orris root, almonds, cassia bark, liquorice, and angelica) grow in the two structures alongside over a hundred individual plant and herb species that provide the accompanying ecosystem required to maintain them.
The Glasshouses recycle the heat from the machinery to make the perfect growing conditions for these tropical and mediterranean plants.
The two glasshouses are embedded into the flowing waters of the newly-widened riverbed.
Eight hundred and ninety-three individually shaped, two-dimensionally curved glass pieces are held within more than one and one quarter kilometers of bronze-finished stainless steel frames.
The Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery at Laverstoke Mill is open for tours and has scheduled events. You can go behind the scenes as they make their gin in the state-of-the-art distillery. Go here for details or to book tickets.
A video of the demolition and renovation:
*In recognition of this the distillery has been awarded the highly prestigious BREEAM Award for Industrial Design.