Our Story


At the Heart of Suffolk Distillery, you will find a business routed in local, family values that has a passion for creating exceptional products for their customers to enjoy.

The Heart of Suffolk Distillery was launched by husband and wife team Martyn and Karen Luke in February 2018, when a dream turned to reality.  Both are local to the heart of Suffolk with Karen growing up just a half a mile from where the distillery has been established.  Gin has been a passion of Karen’s for many years and more recently of Martyn’s and it was an easy decision, when naming their signature product, to honour Betty, Karen’s mother, who shared the same love and enjoyment of a good quality gin. Karen remembers her mother being a proper Suffolk girl; straight talking, strong willed and famed for her love of a really good gin.  Karen knows she would have been delighted to think that a bit of her legacy goes into every bottle they make.

This family-orientated company lovingly pot distil small batches of a London Dry style gin with nine carefully chosen hand crushed botanicals to create the modern, unique and refreshing taste.

The bijou distillery is based in Finbows Yard, Bacton, itself an independent Suffolk icon. It is open to the public and offers a relaxed and hospitable welcome for those wanting to enjoy a sample and purchase a bottle of the hand-crafted gin. Alongside the gin on the shelves in the small retail unit, you will find other locally sourced products which will enhance the customers experience when they visit.

The clean line image which the Heart of Suffolk Distillery has strived for, has been reflected in our signature, award-winning gin. Betty’s Gin is a pot distilled gin feeling modern, fresh and crisp to the palette.  It is styled on a London Dry Gin, has a slight orange undertone and is best served with a slice of orange, a handful of ice and a premium tonic water. This complements the nine carefully chosen botanicals which are used to create the unique, modern and refreshing taste.

Alongside Betty’s Gin, sits Rosie’s; a light summery gin with floral undertones which shouts to be enjoyed in the garden on a warm, summer’s day. Finally, there is Ivy’s. A further London Dry Gin which boasts winter spices and which recently received the accolade of Best London Dry Gin, Judges’ Choice, from The Gin To My Tonic Awards.

Throughout the year, Heart of Suffolk Distillery also be distil and distribute limited edition gins and our liqueur range, Ollie’s Liqueur; further demonstrating the passion we have for producing high-quality products and exceeding customer expectations.

The Heart of Suffolk Distillery makes real gin for real people.  Each batch of around 70 bottles is hand signed and numbered by our distiller Ryan who believes that when he signs each bottle he puts a piece of himself into each bottle.

In April 2022, the Heart of Suffolk Distillery began its next phase of development, when Karen and Martyn were joined by their son, Ryan. Ryan hit the ground running and quickly set out to begin the process of growth which had started pre-pandemic.  If there was a Food & Drink Festival, or a talk to be given, Ryan made sure that he was there as the new face of the company. This was also when Ryan decided to launch Suffolk’s only Amaretto; a product which has been enjoyed by many since its debut.

In May 2023, Ryan joined forces with a new business partner, Tom Mills, while his parents took a step back from the business. This led to a significant period of change over the span of 2023. In September 2023, the distillery underwent an expansion by acquiring The Elms at Finbows Yard. This new space now serves as the location for their shop and event space, while the original site continues to be dedicated to production. This has allowed us to increase our spirit production and undertake several contract distillations for local companies passionate about gin.

Also in September 2023, the Heart of Suffolk Distillery extended its presence by opening Langams Wine Bar in Stowmarket. This bar served as a showcase for their spirits, including Betty’s Gin, and features other locally produced drinks. While this Bar was closed in May 2024, it provided Ryan and Tom with a clear insight into the exciting life of owning bars and the joy of being able to provide customers with a range of local products.

Our Stowmarket bar acted as a springboard for our most recent expansion in Bury St Edmunds, The Secret Distillery. The Secret Distillery is a true passion project of Ryan and Tom’s. Occupying a modern ‘speakeasy venue’ in the centre of Bury St Edmunds allows us to bring our blend of artisan spirits and passion for local drinks to the town through a meticulously curated menu. The Secret Distillery boasts an ever changing cocktail offering, a relaxed atmosphere and an opportunity to appreciate the best of what Suffolk has to offer.

If you love Suffolk you will love the Heart of Suffolk’s selection of spirits and the passion we put into each bottle.

If you would like to stock our gin in your store, deli, farmshop, restaurant or public House please email us at sales@heartofsuffolkdistillery.co.uk and we will arrange to visit you with some samples.