Our Story

Our story

The story of our family in gin distilling dates back over 150 years. But let us begin with who we are today.

Since James and Miranda Hayman joined their father Christopher Hayman in the family business at the start of the new millennium, our focus has been on using our knowledge and experience to make traditional gins that we knew could be loved as much today as they once were. From Hayman’s Old Tom to our Family Reserve Gin, which took a year to get just right, we’re proud to have been the first distillers to introduce a range of different gin styles. All made to original family recipes in our copper pot still, Marjorie.

Even the distinctive bottle you might recognise today has a tale to tell. Its design was inspired by an original, old gin bottle that had been safely tucked away in Christopher’s office for years, just waiting to be found.

The rest is history, as they say

The rest is history, as they say 

The rest is history, as they say

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Our journey in gin has been an interesting one, with many twists and turns along the way.

It all began with Christopher’s great-​grandfather, James Burrough, who was a curious and charismatic pharmacist. In 1863 he bought a gin and liqueur rectifying business on Cale Street in London and started producing a range of cordials, medicinal ingredients and gin. His coveted gin recipes, which we still follow today, can be found scribbled in notebooks dating back to that time.

Over subsequent years James Burrough’s sons joined the family business, exporting our gins to the USA and Canada under the Burrough name.

And during WWII, distilling alcohol for medicinal purposes was deemed such an important war contribution that certain members of our family were not allowed to join the Army.

Neville Hayman, husband of Marjorie Burrough (James Burrough’s granddaughter), was the first Hayman to join the family business in 1951 – which was now well known for producing, among others, Beefeater Gin. He helped shape the company to make sure we could survive the aftermath of WWII, which included rationalisation of the gin styles made. And just 18 years later, he was joined by his son, Christopher Hayman.

Now, we mentioned twists and turns. Perhaps the most notable came in 1987, when the family business was sold to the then brewer, Whitbread. It could have been the end, but the Hayman side of our family were not ready to leave a life of gin making behind.

If anything, we were now more passionate than ever about getting back to what we do best: making English gin the original way, just as we always have.
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So Christopher Hayman led the way in buying back James Burrough Fine Alcohols Division Limited, changed the company name to Hayman Distillers and worked tirelessly for a number of years get us to a position where we could begin to do just that again.

As you’ve already read, Christopher, James and Miranda still continue to run the business today, upholding family traditions with an inherent passion for distilling original gins.

Which brings us back to today and the Hayman’s Gin you can enjoy. Very much a product of our past.

A few of our favourite gin memories

Our immediate family 

A few of our favourite gin memories

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Christopher
“I remember watching from the window as the wooden crates of gin were delivered to my parents’ house in the company van. And that my father’s favourite tipple to enjoy at home was a Bronx gin cocktail.”
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James
“I really used to enjoy visiting Dad at the distillery when I was younger. The distinct smell of juniper and orange peel was so intense that it left a lasting impression – I always hoped that I might work in the family company one day.”
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Miranda
“The arrival of our copper pot still, Marjorie, was a proud moment back in Spring 2013. We named her after my grandmother who was the link to our family’s rich gin heritage and the twist and turns along the way.”
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Lewis
“I have so many special gin memories. My first ‘three-​martini lunch’, sat looking out over the impressive New York skyline, has to be up there with the best of them. It certainly sparked my passion for gin.”
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Kirsty
“I’ll never forget our first distillery experience and preparing those first gin and tonics. I love helping people learn new things about gin and sharing our Hayman story.”
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Meet Cale

"Ah, so you spotted Cale? He’s here to tell our story.

He’s named after James Burrough’s first distillery on Cale Street. And has always been around observing things, both as part of our family crest and throughout gin’s rich history.

We’ve promoted him to storyteller because he really is the best person (or cat) to represent our whole extended family, mainly because there’s a bit of that fighting animal spirit in us.

Like cats tend to be, we’re always true to ourselves – pretty bold and confident. And there are lots of ways in which we try to balance opposites, such as the traditional and modern, everyday occasions or the science and art of distilling.

To us, Cale’s a true Hayman’s ambassador.

Keep an eye out for him; you never know where he’ll pop up next!”

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