Tameside’s first distillery opened for business by self-employed Denton man

  • Lee Chisnall from Denton opens first Tameside distillery
  • Started selling Tameside Gin last month
  • Now sells charity brand gin in partnership with Willow Wood Hospice 

Brewer Lee Chisnall has made a charity branded Willow Wood Hospice gin in Tameside’s first distillery.

The Denton man worked in IT for 26 years until he sought a new career away from the desk job.

He now works full-time as the owner and operator of Tameside’s first distillery, The Tameside Distillery in Denton.

The father of two outlines his goals as being: “To make it something sustainable for the next 25 years.”

Two years ago, Lee decided to start researching how to make a career making high quality alcohol for those who seek authentic flavours like himself.

In July, he secured a unit on Tameside business Ppark and with two boilers and a gin basket started producing Tameside Gin.

He said: “It’s all trial and error. There isn’t a science that tells you how many of each [ingredient] you need.

“There’s no formula, there isn’t anything. It is just trial and error. I spent about a year-and-a-half developing a recipe.

“Knowing what I know now, I could probably develop another recipe in two or three months.”

Lee started off with a good London Dry gin  before he begins branching out into other flavours such as raspberry, which Lee hopes to do in the new year.

With the gin made, Lee went to see potential sellers to give them a free bottle to try with a business proposal if they enjoyed it.

He now has nine stockists for Tameside gin, including two mobile gin.

This success allowed him to begin work creating ‘The Willow Wood Gin’ in support of Willow Wood Hospice in Ashton-under-Lyne, which he launched this month.

Lee, whose mum works in the hospice office, said: “The hospice needs about £3 million a year. They’ve got to raise through donations and the lottery, selling stuff in the shop.”

In an average week, Lee produces 1,000 bottles of gin at his distillery and does everyting himself to brewing the gin to rinsing bottles, labelling and packing.

In the new year, Lee hopes to start recruiting more staff to help with the operation.