Chinnery Gin - inspired by the famous Canton trading route

By Maurice Garvey

The famous Canton trading route between China and the West, was the inspiration behind a new high quality gin, which is produced in Tallaght.

Self-confessed gin geeks David Havelin and Marie Byrne are the driving force behind Chinnery Spirits Ltd.

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Gin geeks David Havelin and Marie Byrne 

Operating out of an incubation centre in IT Tallaght, Chinnery Gin officially landed on the shelves of off-licenses three months ago, with Molloy’s, O’Brien’s and the Celtic Whiskey Shop among their stockists.

“We are in the process of moving into a new lab in Walkinstown but the first batch was made in Tallaght,” said David.

“Work on the business started two and a half years ago. It was a long process but it is going in the right direction. Stockists, barstaff and people in the industry really like it. We are happy with how it has been received.”

David spent several years in the 1990s living in Guangzhou, or Canton as it was once known.

He kept seeing paintings by English painter George Chinnery (1774-1853), who started his career in Dublin before moving to India and China.

Chinnery’s portraits of prominent merchants and figures living in the region are of immense historical value, as he was the only western artist resident in South China in the early and mid-19th century.

Working to capture the romance of the old China trade with a new gin, David visited Canton markets to source specific ingredients from the region.

“When it came to starting the company, we thought it a good fit story that of the gin and the China trade,” said David.

“Canton is still the trading capital of China, they have 3,000 wholesalers under one market. I searched for a particular variety of oolong tea, and Osmanthus, which is a tiny flower with a fairly rich aroma of peaches and apricots.”

A former engineer and software development professional, David teamed up with Marie, the co-founder and managing director of the Dublin Whiskey Company.

Sharing a special interest in food, drink and distilling - David also wrote a blog ‘Liquid Blog’ – the pair decided to create their very own unique gin.

Two years ago, Marie graduated from a New Frontiers programme at the Synergy Centre in IT Tallaght, which provided Chinnery Gin with the platform to further develop the business.

David continued: “That was the start of it, it gave us access to a hot desk, they were really encouraging. People like the theatre of gin and tonics with the big balloon glass, but I still think a revolution is yet to take place in Dublin for cocktails. That is something I try to show people during demonstrations and tastings.”

Chinnery Gin is available from stockists - listed on their website chinnerygin.com - for a retail price of €49.95.

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