Judge Profile

Laurence Conisbee
Owner / Distiller
Wharf Distillery

Laurence has been involved in artisanal drinks production since 1994 and in 2009 founded Virtual Orchard Cider in Milton Keynes, the first commercial cider maker in central England. In 2014 Laurence founded Wharf Distillery, another first for the region, producing brandies, vodkas, whisky and, of course, gin. As well as their own range of spirits and liqueurs, Laurence is now evolving a growing contract distilling arm for Wharf Distillery which is able to produce small batches of bespoke gin, or other spirits, for independent pubs, restaurants, or as corporate gifts. In 2016 Laurence also co-founded the MKFoodFest, setup up to celebrate and showcase the growing number of diverse food and drinks producers in the area.

Laurence is a huge advocate for anything that has been locally produced and is always looking for opportunities to support and promote local. “Sponsoring the SME Pub and Restaurant of the year awards gives us a great opportunity, not only to promote our own brand, but also to highlight the growing diversity of quality, locally produced foods and drink to one of our largest target markets.”