Where better to launch a gin named after you than on a boat on the river, belonging to the company you set up in 1870, nearly 150 years ago and now run by your great, great, great Grandson? Onboard Hobbs of Henley’s New Orleans, American styled paddle-steamer, Jonnie Hobbs, the current MD of Hobbs of Henley, invited guests to sample Mr Hobbs’ favourite tipple, inspired by his own recipe for distilling his gin, which has recently been discovered.
Hobbs and Henley are synonymous with the River Thames. Mr Harry Hobbs, the founder of Hobbs and Sons (now Hobbs of Henley) was also the publican of The Ship Hotel in Henley in 1870 and could often be found in his punt around 11am enjoying his home-distilled gin. The flamboyant Mr Hobbs carried his gin in a drinking flask, which a local boat maker made him as a thank you for introducing him to his future wife. The gin was renowned for its unusual ingredients and until now that secret recipe had been lost. Jonnie and his wife Suzie found the recipe in the back of an old framed photo of Mr Hobbs himself, with detailed instructions for its distilling.
Jonnie and Suzy Hobbs have launched this premium gin at a time when there is a renaissance in British gin. Distilled from only the finest ingredients, the gin is in keeping with the reputation and brand of Hobbs of Henley, and will be a unique extension of the family business.
Henley hosts some of England’s finest cultural events such as Henley Royal Regatta, Henley Music & Arts Festival and Henley Literary Festival. Mr Hobbs gin will complement these festivals with its exclusive brand which will be distilled in limited amounts to maintain its high quality and its special refreshing properties.
Hobbs of Henley is a family business through and through and is inextricably linked with Henley and the history of the area. The Hobbs family have traced their ancestry through the direct male line to another Harry Hobbs of Hambleden in 1490! Today the company still offers pleasure boating on the Thames at Henley, where you can hire a boat for a day or an hour, enjoy a guided cruise along the Thames or relax and enjoy a holiday on board one of their luxury self-drive Linnsen cruisers.
Mr Hobbs’ gin will be available at the Hobbs of Henley boatyard, at a number of selected local establishments or www.mrhobbsgin.co.uk. RRP £36 (inc VAT). It will also be available on the new Gin & Fizz cruises offered by Hobbs of Henley on 13 May, 3 June or 23 September.
Hobs of Henley, The Boat House, Station Road, Henley-on-Thames RG9 1AZ