A cathedral in Blackburn has become the first in Britain to launch its own brand of gin. Called Cathedra, this product has been created to boost church profits. It has been designed to cash in on the current enthusiasm for the beverage and provide a useful income for the Church’s mission and ministry.

On trend

The Dean of Blackburn, Very Rev Peter Howell-Jones had a hand in deciding what went into the creation of Cathedra, and has said:

“This is not a novelty: this is a cathedral doing business. Blackburn is not a tourism centre; it is not a rich part of the world, and we need to reach out to markets beyond our town and region to be sustainable long-term. Gin is on trend; it is a developing market.
“I wanted to create a brand that would work across the country, that could create an income stream from which all English cathedrals can benefit.”

The cathedral has invested £12,000 in the development of the gin and retails for around £45 a bottle. The sales of the spirit are hoped to help the cathedral’s fundraising efforts for a £1 million redevelopment of the crypt into a community and conference centre.

The sustainable production

The gin is made by Brindle Distillery, an independent company near Chorley, which uses a blend of local and international “botanicals” to flavour its spirits.

The 40% gin has been flavoured with juniper, orange, elderflower, almond, and vanilla. The process has been notably sustainable, with the water used in the distilling process coming from the farm’s spring, where herds of cows or free-range chickens being fed the by-products. The house brand, Cuckoo Gin, has also been praised in the industry.

Dean added: “Creating a gin here at Blackburn Cathedral to sell in the commercial world helps us develop our reach beyond Lancashire and reflects a well-established tradition of monastic and religious communities brewing, fermenting and distilling dating back to before the medieval period.

“And in doing so, we are helping to reflect something of the entrepreneurism and creativity, which is the spirit of England”.

The gin was unveiled to local businesses on the 15th November and is available to purchase on the cathedral’s website.

What are your thoughts?

What do you think of the cathedral’s own gin launch and its sustainable production? We’d love to hear what you think! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.