BLACK Mountain Botanicals took home the award for Best Drinks Producer.

Glyn Bufton, landlord of the Bridge Inn in Michaelchurch, and Lloyd Reed received the award from Jenny Evans of Cupid Events, who sponsored this category.

The runners-up were British Cassis and Pixley Berries.

Black Mountain Botanicals make the Hill Billy gin, which is sold in ‘old fashioned style’ stoneware bottles - typical that one might expect of an old fashioned rustic Herefordshire cider.

Glyn said: “We were surprised because the other two in the category are really awesome.

“They are a bit further along the journey than we are.

“It is great to get it out there.”

It took 18 months to develop the gin which they released this year. They make it at The Bridge Inn.

Glyn said: “From when we started we had to get the flavours right and get consistency and also source all of the botanicals and everything that goes into it.

“We were making sure we could get a product we were happy with.”

They are currently both working part time to make it.

Lloyd is an engineer and next year plans to spend more time working on the gin.

Glyn said: “We are making around 100 to 150 bottles a week. We can increase that quite easily to meet demand.”

They use natural mineral water and a slow maceration to help extract the notes they want from the 12 botanicals that they use to make their gin.

They also use Herefordshire apples to soften the process and create delicate floral gin with punchy juniper notes.

Glyn said: “Being located on the edge of rural Herefordshire in the shadow of the Black Mountains the choice of two of our key ingredients was very simple.

“Most gins are cut to drinking strength with distiller water to help give the high clarity that people often expect, we however use natural mineral water.

“The catchment area covers around 3,000 acres of the Brecon Beacons National Park, where the spring surfaces on the eastern boundary high above any farm land which greatly contributes to its exceptional purity and low nitrate content.”