The High Sheriff of Staffordshire, Mr Ashley Brough, has succeeded in creating a winning concept by distilling craft gin and auctioning limited edition bottles to raise money for charity.
Following a visit to Nelson’s Gin School in 2015, I became inspired to join forces with Neil Harrison, their proprietor and master distiller, to produce the bespoke High Sheriff’s Gin.
Neil’s Staffordshire distillery creates gin in small batches, using 21st-century, ‘cottage industry’ methods. With a master’s degree in culinary arts and experience of working in a two Michelin star restaurant, Neil has shared his knowledge with me to distil this unique blend which is the ‘High Sheriff’s Gin’.
Neil’s measured palate has provided me with expert guidance in crafting a gin, using select botanicals, including juniper, citrus zest, lime leaves, hibiscus flowers, pink peppercorns and essence of pine. The distilled ingredients have blended perfectly, resulting in a high strength 42.5% alc gin, that we’re excited to serve at Shrieval and Civic functions and where I have donated the bottles for auction; creating funds for the Mayors and Chairman’s charities respectively. I have made this gin, not for profit, but to entertain guests, and to donate to charitable causes, to raise much needed funds.
To date, the first 170 bottles have been released and have all gone. During March 2020 we made the second batch of 200 bottles, which are now available for sale to any of the UK’s 55 High Sheriffs to buy direct from Nelson’s Gin. You can visit their website at https://nelsonsdisillery.co.uk for further information.
The auctioned bottles of High Sheriff’s Gin have already served to benefit charities, with bottles selling from £75 to as much as £500 each for the signed limited-edition bottles.
I am absolutely delighted to reveal that to date, we’ve managed to raise over £5,000 from auctioning the High Sheriff’s Gin at social events, corporate and Civic functions, with every single penny going to a worthy charitable cause.
It is my intention to encourage the other High Sheriffs from across the country to participate in embracing this ready-made, fund raising vehicle to deliver money to benefit the causes they choose to support during their individual Shrieval Year.
The High Sheriff of Worcestershire has already bought ten bottles with plans to place them in auctions and I wish him every success as they go under the hammer!
The project has not only been rewarding from a charitable perspective, but as I personally come to the end of my Shrieval Year in April, it also serves as a timely legacy of my year in office, which I have enjoyed immensely.
Over the past 12 months I believe I have achieved success in supporting local charities and organisations including Lichfield Cathedral, Macmillan Cancer Support, WM Air Ambulance, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Staffordshire Police Cadets, Care First, (an adult learning centre), Love Lichfield, 4UProgress, and the Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services (SCVYS).
I’ve remembered lost heroes at the National Memorial Arboretum, celebrated student achievements at both Staffordshire and Keele Universities, strengthened ties with Staffordshire Police and worked to support Staffordshire Fire and Rescue.
It’s been a tremendous year in which I’ve learned and experienced so much. I’ve benefited from being within a wonderful community, helped to raise awareness of causes and supported valuable efforts.
It’s been a pleasure to serve my much-loved county of Staffordshire and I will value the memories I have created during my time in the role, for many years to come.