The Food and Drink Networking Club, hosted by Thomson Snell & Passmore and Matthew Sankey of Sankey’s held its latest event on Tuesday 2 November 2021 on a crisp autumn night at the Tunbridge Wells Hotel on the Pantiles. Attendees had the chance to meet face-to-face and discuss the latest goings-on in the local industry - all of which was complemented by the welcome and generous hospitality of The Tunbridge Wells Hotel.
After some initial introductions and a plentiful amount of great wine, gin and canapés, Julian Leefe-Griffiths of The Tunbridge Wells Hotel gave an introduction to our tasting tables; two local businesses offering samples of their wares.
A real English success story, Mark and Sandra Puckett introduced us to Sanden Vineyard – a small family-run vineyard in Groombridge producing fantastic White and Blush Brut using Seyval and Pinot Noir grapes. This home-grown fizz was initially discovered by accident, but now unmistakably produces some 3000 bottles a year for our enjoyment. The night’s wine was credited to a 2018 harvest, albeit the long, dry summer of 2015 has produced some of the vineyard’s very best– all of which was well worth waiting for, and can be purchased by cellar door, or by local farmers market. Mark invited all to explore the vineyard which he, his wife and their team have proudly and lovingly tended and who offer exclusive and private events in its celebration. You will never find this special wine on any supermarket shelf – and we couldn’t have asked for a better celebrant wine for tonight’s occasion.
Next, Birch Gin – a unique blend using birch syrup, from its coincidental namesakes and creators Justin and Dawn Birch. From initial conception in Singapore to its distillery in Wadhurst, this gin was poured unsparingly and without protest into the tumblers of all following a decade of loving development by its creator Justin. Both its original and ‘navy-strength’ gin is proudly distilled using the one-shot method (an approach only taken by around 3% of the world’s gins) and despite only launching in 2020 during the heart of a global lockdown, this gin has already amassed great success. It has now won Bronze in the World Gin Awards, Silver at the London Spirits Competition and Gold in the Women’s Wine and Spirits Awards. You can find both gins stocked in and around local restaurants and bars alongside its national stockists at Master of Malt, Virgin Wines and Berry Bros & Rudd. We are all looking forward to the imminent launch of its new Sumatran blend – and thank both Justin and Dawn for providing us with a taster of such a worldy (yet local) new spirit!
This was another successful event and we’re looking forward to the next one. If you work in the food and drink industry and would like to come along then please email firstname.lastname@example.org.