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About us

Conker is a team of friends, sharing a passion to build a world-class distillery. We believe in creating meaningful experiences through our spirits and events. Lasting smiles and memories. Building something real we can all believe in, champion and rely on. A worthy contribution. We reject gimmicks and marketing bamboozling. We follow the path less explored. And we have a lot of work to do, with a whole lot of fun along the way.

Join us on our journey.

Who we are

First and foremost, we’re the real deal. We’re the foragers, the distillers, the bottlers and the labellers.

No shortcuts, no compromises and definitely no lacklustre. And all from our distillery in the humble backstreets of Southbourne in Bournemouth, Dorset. We use the best ingredients we can get our hands on (literally, you should see our gorse-scratched paws), and we treat them with the respect and love they deserve. No detail is too small - from the New Forest Spring Water from which we distil our spirits, to the handpicked forest-grown coffees roasted in Dorset for our Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur.

April 2014

I wanted to share our journey from the very beginning. Before we had a brand, our bottles or even a finished gin recipe. Our first 30-litre alembic pot still arrives, generously bought by my lovely mum.This would go on to work very hard indeed.

August 2014

We've got bottle! From day one of Conker I wanted to take a ‘design-led’ approach to everything we did. It had to be spot on. If you didn’t want to take it home and cuddle up next to it on the sofa, then it wasn’t pretty enough.

August 2015

Our first hire - Fred, my best buddy from my school days joins the team. Leaving behind a career in clinical science, (Dr) Fred now heads up all our operations. Botanicals, empty bottles and labels come in, award-winning spirits go out!

October 2015

We sign every...single...bottle. Not regretting that decision at all.

March 2016

For our second product to follow the Dorset Dry, we didn’t want to simply follow the crowed. If it’s not innovative, new and exciting, we are not really that interested.

Our Distillery

Our distillery is a small, but mighty, hive of activity.

The first thing you’ll notice is the heady aroma of our beautiful botanicals, which emanate daily from our two 60-litre alembic pot stills, affectionately named Pumpkin and Aunt Fanny.

Explore further, and the cocktail of aromas will deepen, seducing you with fresh ground coffee, gin-filled port barrels, and a myriad of experimental Conkoctions from our research lab…(shush, they’re top secret!)

It’s a happy, and heady, place to be and whilst our stills work hard, our Conkerers work even harder, ensuring every drop of every bottle epitomises the craft, quality and innovation we hold so dear.

“Clean & bright - it shows the real essence of coffee flavour. Due to its fresh extracted notes it combines fantastically well with spirits - even those with lighter flavour profiles.”

James Fowler, World Class UK Bartender of the Year 2014.

Foraging

Maybe it’s the hunter-gatherer in us, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about foraging.

In Spring, when Dorset’s clifftops are ablaze with bright yellow gorse bushes, and the intoxicating aroma of coconut drifts on the coastal breeze, we don our impenetrable gloves and pick enough gorse flowers to last us a year. To lock-in the unique flavours and aromas, we dry and vacuum pack the lot, drawing it down for distillation throughout the year.

Whilst we’re not sure you can ‘forage’ water, you will often find us driving out to see New Forest Spring Water to fill up our tanks for the week’s distilling.

We’ve recently sourced our coriander seed from a farmer’s field in Sussex, rather than the usual trip over from the continent. Closer to home, and one of the best coriander seeds we’ve encountered.

Distilling

The recipe of our founding product, the Dorset Dry, was developed in Rupert's kitchen on a 1.5-litre alembic pot still.

Luckily, Rupert’s landlord was fine with the HMRC registering his kitchen for this purpose! (You’ll find this kitchen’s coordinates on every bottle of the Dorset Dry).

We launched the Dorset Dry using a single 30-litre alembic pot still, which quickly became two 30-litre stills. Today we have scaled up to two 60-litre stills, but the same principles of that original 1.5-litre alembic pot still apply – as they have done for hundreds of years.

As gin distillers we are technically rectifiers, selecting the best cut of our British wheat spirit whilst in turn imparting the flavours and essence of select botanicals in our spirits. In short, we use temperature to select different parts of the spirit based on their volatility. The same applies to the botanicals, with the oils of juniper and bitter orange distilling at higher temperatures than the aromatics of coriander seed and angelica root.

The finest ingredients deserve the purest water; we distil and cut back to bottling strength using New Forest Spring Water sourced from their spring just outside Ringwood in Hampshire.

Bottling

Control freaks, sadists - call us what you will. We like to call it handcrafted.

It all started with a funnel and hand-applying labels onto a bottle resting in a DIY wooden cradle. We then graduated to a single head bottling machine and a snazzy manual labeller with a state-of-the art pulley, which twisted the bottle onto the label. Today, we have a four head bottler and semi-automatic labeller with a foot switch. It's all super technical, you wouldn't understand.

Innovation

We believe opportunity lies in the gaps between what everyone else is doing. Imagining something new into existence, even if that means some trip-ups and dead ends along the way. Unless we’re treading new ground, to be honest, we aren’t going to get that excited.
Process

In 2014 we launched Dorset’s first gin distillery, taking a leap of faith from a safe career to build a distillery from the ground up, on a shoestring budget. We grew organically, thinking on our toes and building our distillery from scratch, with an obsessive focus on creating world-class spirits. Innovation is not just something you can hold in your hand; it’s a fresh approach, technique or method to better reach your dreams.

What we’ve discovered is a wonderful creative freedom that comes from inexperience and a dose or two of blind optimism.

Liquid

Our standards are pretty high – only top-notch flavours will do. And we aren’t ones for following the crowd. For the product that followed the Dorset Dry, rather than treading a familiar path, we endeavoured to create the UK’s first Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur that didn’t use a single flavouring additive or thickener. This was the ultimate new ground; we had to build our own equipment and spend the best part of a year discovering something that, until now, has never been discovered.

The result reframes coffee liqueurs, winning us a 3 Star 2018 Great Taste Award.

Purpose

It’s not just about making incredible liquid; it’s about thinking about our purpose and how we can deliver important change. It’s about a community spirit that brings people together and creates memorable experiences. And it’s about existing for a bigger purpose than the balance sheet.

With our collaboration with the RNLI, we believe that greater awareness and better understanding saves lives. So, with each 70cl bottle raising £5 for the charity, we hope to help the RNLI on their mission to end preventable loss of life at sea by providing yet another platform to reach their audience.

Our Conkerers

In April 2014 Rupert left his day job to start a new career he could be passionate about. One year later in April 2015 the first bottle of the Dorset Dry was sold, only for Rupert’s first child, Beau, to join the world a few months later… This one-man-band wasn’t going to cut it!

Fred came to the rescue - Rupert’s best friend from school who ditched a career in clinical science to help Rupert Conker. Fast-forward just a few years, and we’ve forged a team of truly exceptional people that make waves and move mountains every single day…

Are you wonderful?

We’re always looking for fantastic people to join our team. So if you think you’ve got what it takes to Conker, and fancy being a part of something relentlessly exciting, get in touch.

Join our team