3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Cheshire Life today click here

Meet the former microbiology student behind Manchester Gin

PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 October 2016 | UPDATED: 14:47 07 June 2017

The gin brand that started as a hobby

The gin brand that started as a hobby

Archant

How Aaron Darke has gone from brewing ‘bootleg’ booze in Northern Moor to setting up a bona fide high-end drinks brand with the quirky name Zymurgorium.

While many impoverished students are forced by necessity to brew their own alcoholic concoctions, few go on to turn them into a career - Aaron Darke the man behind The Manchester Gin brand is an exception.

The creator of the Zymurgorium drinks brand was at university studying microbiology and zoology six years ago brewing drink for his friends and wondering what to do for a career.

‘We were technically bootleggers,’ laughs Aaron, who decided to combine his love for all things botanical and scientific and go legit.

‘I fell in love with the distilling aspect and decided I wanted to turn it into a career, so I phoned up HMRC and asked them what I needed to do to make it legitimate, then I started the business off in my mother’s shed in Northern Moor.

Aaron, right,
with brother CallumAaron, right, with brother Callum

Never having had any experience of working for a brewery his journey in the business was quite convoluted but he found backing through a scheme called Test Town in which young entrepreneurs from across the UK were invited to submit their business ideas. Six local heats took place around the UK over the course of the summer, culminating in a Grand Final in October 2014.

‘It was difficult to find suppliers and it was hard at first. I really struggled until I entered a competition called Test Town back in 2014. People had to set up little pop up shops and I won. I was really lucky as the winners got a £10,000 grant and that was really where things started off for me.’

Aaron’s use of foraged ingredients such as damsons, sloes, elderflower and woodruff were another aspect that made his products different.

‘I think what helped is that people were able to taste the difference. The gin is rather unique, not the same old same old and the fact you can flavour it with different botanicals allows you to create different varieties,’ he explains.

As well as Manchester Gin and Manchester Gin liqueurs, the brand also embraces everything from craft beers and cider to mead. They sell special edition brews like honey cider, marmalade mead English hedge rose gin liqueur and toffee vodka.

His products can now be found online and at Bottle in Stockport and Heaton Moor, Hammond, Knutsford, Cheshire Smokehouse, Epicerie Ludos, Chorlton, and restaurants like Mish Mash in Chorlton and the Church Green at Lymm.

‘I am inspired by nature and my love of culture, variation and science,’ says Aaron.

‘The Zymurgorium name comes from an amalgamation of the word zymurgy and also emporium. Zymurgy is the study of scientific brewing and an emporium is a shop that sells various items and trinkets.

‘The Zymurgorium is a source of adventure and diversity; from fruit and vegetable beers to old and new techniques in the sacred art of distillation, to ancient lost ciders and honey wines and an almost endless supply of brewing and distilling styles. ‘

Like many of the newer breeds of alcohol manufacturers, Aaron is something of a maverick, waging a battle against the ‘overwhelming blandness’ and sameness of established brews.

‘Rebelling against the status quo, bringing our true quality and the flavour from our ingredients is what drove me to start to experimenting all those years ago,’ he says. ‘And it is what keeps us ahead now in innovation and just plain awesomeness!’

Visit zymurgorium.com for further details.

Is gin becoming Cheshire’s favourite drink?

More from Food & Drink

Yesterday, 10:20

The perfect opportunity to experience the very best coffee from the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica!

Read more
Yesterday, 09:28

Alderley Edge-based TV presenter Michelle Ackerley proves she’s hot property as she heads to the Celebrity MasterChef

Read more
Friday, August 17, 2018

Marigot Bay Bar & Cafe, named after Marigot Bay of St Lucia in the Caribbean, offering South Manchester a bar and cafe that takes you through the many tropical islands via chilled island beers, tropical cocktails and some of the finest Caribbean coffee and cocoa available.

Read more
Friday, August 17, 2018

Renowned Cheshire chef Mark Ellis - of Great British Menu fame - is now showcasing his talent in leafy Eyton, just over the border.

Read more
North Wales

Your granny wouldn’t like it but this Manchester restaurant aims to be out of this world, writes Roger Borrell.

Read more
Manchester Restaurants Asian Food

Guests at a Cheshire Life luncheon soaked up a Mediterranean vibe at the glamorous ski-themed restaurant, Piste in Sandbach.

Read more
Cheshire Life Luncheon
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

At Marigot Bay Bar & Café we love a good cocktail!

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Fine dining in elegant surroundings makes Pier Eight at the Lowry a destination dining restaurant you’ll want to visit time and again, says Kate Houghton.

Read more
Thursday, July 26, 2018

In Brazil, Picanha is the very best cut of meat, famed for its succulent texture and exceptional flavour. It’s from this celebrated cut that the authentic Brazilian restaurant takes its name.

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


Local Business Directory

Cheshire's trusted business finder

Property Search