Here is a glimpse of the 280 years of history that made us the discerning drinkers choice.
Nicholson has been a brand of great distinction from the very beginning of gin distilling. The world has changed dramatically since 1736, but the superb flavour and quality of our gin remains as consistent as ever.
In 1736, George II was King of England and it is the height of the Gin Craze. More importantly, the Nicholson and Bowman families set up as distillers and spirits merchants in Clerkenwell, London and the first generation of Nicholson Gin was born.
The Duke of Wellington’s forces defeat Napoleon’s forces at the Battle of Vimeiro, the first British victory in the Peninsular War. In the same year, J&W Nicholson & Co were victorious in purchasing a site on Woodbridge Street, Clerkenwell to refine their famous gin distillation. Legend has it that Wellington was fond of a glass or two of Nicholson Gin. We like to think that our great gin also served King and Country.
The world’s oldest scientific Zoo opens in London leading the way in the advanced study of exotic animals. At the same time, J&W Nicholson & Co is leading the way in gin distillation. Due to popular demand, Nicholson moves to larger premises on St John Street, Clerkenwell, advancing their own scientific study of exotic botanicals and gin styles.
Sir Rowland Hill introduces the Penny Post, still the most famous stamp in the world today. J&W Nicholson & Co have developed their own London Dry style to become one of the largest and most successful gin producers.
Jessie James holds up his first bank, stealing $15,000 from the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri, which just wasn’t cricket. At the same time, William Nicholson loans money to the MCC to purchase the freehold of Lord’s Cricket Ground, which definitely was. The grateful MCC went on to adopt Nicholson’s ‘egg and bacon’ colours for their own.
US Government bond agent Jay Cooke & Co collapses, causing the panic of 1873 on Wall St and the start of the Long Depression. On the other side of the pond, J&W Nicholson & Co purchase Three Mills Distillery and establishes a stand-alone pub group, still known as Nicholson’s Pubs.
On March 4th the 1,701 ft long Forth Rail Bridge, the longest bridge in Great Britain, opens. In London, the MCC’s new Pavilion was also opened thanks to the generosity of William Nicholson. Both remain marvels of Victorian engineering.
The Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, WWI flying ace, wins his first aerial combat near Cambrai, France. Back in Blighty the Three Mills Distillery is used as a top-secret research laboratory to produce Acetone for the war effort. Nicholson was fighting back.
Although famous for the Great Depression, 1930’s London was still swinging to the last of the Jazz Age. Nothing was more de rigueur than a cocktail with Nicholson Gin as recommended in the three great cocktail books of the age – Harry Craddock’s ‘The Savoy Cocktail Book’, Harry MacElhone’s ‘Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails’ and Albert Stevens Crockett’s ‘The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book’.
Winston Churchill, who succeeded Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister, says “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears & sweat”. The bonded warehouse at Three Mills was bombed during the London Blitz. The powerful explosions set many neighbouring properties alight.
In the early 1980’s, the first commercial mobile phone goes on sale changing the world of communications forever. In the same period J&W Nicholson & Co is sold to Allied Breweries and gin production ceases… for a while.
Just in time for the height of summer, Nicholson Original London Dry Gin is born. We’ve added a touch of colour – Lemon and Rhubarb – to celebrate!