Get creative at Gin Academy

GIN lovers can get hands on to create their own tipple at a new Gin Academy at an award-winning distillery in Lees.

Defiance Distillery, producer of Defiance Gin, was launched by Paul Sheerin nearly two-and-a-half years ago at Woodend Mill.Now with popularity booming, Paul is expanding the business to offer the Academy workshops which give gin lovers the opportunity to distil their own bottle of gin.

Six copper mini stills have been installed in a new bar area, where guests will be able to try out the art of gin making in a relaxed and fun environment.

The refurbishment has been carefully carried out by local traders and businesses to bring out the best of the traditional former mill.

“I love the building, its original floors and quirkiness so I wanted to keep that,” explained Paul.

“I took my wife to the Jameson whiskey distillery in Ireland for our anniversary, of course, and got a lot of my ideas from what they have done there as it’s so authentic.”

Guests will be able to choose from 50 flavours to use, with Paul’s helpful gin periodic table setting out taste groups including sweet, spiced, herbal, nutty, and fruity.Led by master distiller Paul, participants will weigh out their chosen ingredients and distil them in a mini still, as well as tucking into delicious platters while they wait.

The launch of the Academy comes hot on the heels of Defiance Spirits’ release of a new range of gins named Flight Club.

With the business rapidly expanding, Paul brought distiller Miguel Miras on board in April to help with the new range and Academy.

“We thought it would only take six weeks to get everything in place,” he admitted, “But it took a lot longer and we’re only just launching now! But I’m thrilled with how everything has turned out.”

It is not just premium gins that are keeping the pair busy as they now also produce three rums and aim to add whiskey and brandy to their offerings next year.

Their efforts have not gone without recognition as they were named Young Business of the Year at the Oldham Business Awards 2019 and recently won bronze medals for both its Old Tom and Dark Spiced Rum at the prestigious IWSC 2019.

To find out more about Defiance Distillery and its range of award winning gins, or to book your place or event at The Defiance Gin Academy, visit

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