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Muddy Winners’ Drinks Do

As always, one of the best bits of the Muddy Awards is the Winners’ Drinks Party. Not just because of the freely flowing booze –  this year, the gold-medal-winning Newton House Gin – but it really feels a privilege to help the winners celebrate their success. At a time when so many big high street brands are going to the wall, it’s heartwarming and inspiring to see so many innovative, high quality businesses thriving here in Somerset and it seems like lots of you feel the same way, with around 30,000 of you voting in the finals alone.

We were lucky enough to be the guests at the Jacobean mansion, Newton House in Newton Surmaville, just south of Yeovil, and home of the aforementioned gin.

The party was held in The Coach House, their Bespoke Gin House, where they hold tastings, occasional gin and jazz evenings and other events.

Inside, Newton House Gin’s Sue gets pouring…

Want to meet some of the winners?  Here’s Best Fitness Instructor Hannah Lamputt from Space Gym in Bath with Jonny Harbottle.

Emma and Lucy from Essence Hair & Beauty in Wedmore.

On the left, Jesse Brown of Brown & Forrest, the family-run smokery in Hambridge and winner of Best Local Food & Drink Producer. On the right, Micheal Rose, co-owner with Simon Macleod of Somerset’s Best Destination Pub, The Candlelight Inn in Bishopswood in the beautiful Blackdown Hills.

Magaly Etter and Kasia Kalinowska from The Olive Tree, Bath’s only Michelin star restaurant and Muddy Stilettos Best Restaurant, with Muddy Somerset’s Commercial Manager Annie Michie.

Left to right: Linda Budzynski and Elizabeth Kleve from Yeovil’s brand new zero waste store Take No Wrap, winners of the Best Newcomer category with Karen Mitchell from Esme’s Escape, a 1940s-themed shepherd’s hut and Somerset’s Best Boutique Stay.

Left to right: new Muddy Somerset intern Katie Comer;  Kate Austin of small but ever so perfectly formed Spotty Herberts children’s shop in Bath (Best Children’s Business);  Snow from Bath’s fabulous women’s ethical clothing shop Bibico (Best Women’s Store); and Annie Michie.

Susie Thomas (Rocket) and Jeanette Crawford (Bird) of Rocket & Bird, Somerset’s Best Gift Shop. Both designer-makers, their Taunton shop is stuffed with unique, quirky and beautiful things – all made in Somerset.

The Best Yoga/Pilates Instructor, Sharon Davies of Taunton, with Matt Pearce.

From Best Bar, the super cool Bocabar in Glastonbury came these chaps Marc and Billy.

Kate Wigmore and Joel Capes from The Octagon in Yeovil, who were voted the Best Theatre/Arts Centre in Somerset.

Kimberley from the gorgeous Elements Boutique Spa in Middlezoy (Best Day Spa) and Yeovil-based Len Copland (Best Photographer).

Gary Coughlan and Harriet Tait from the awesome Railway Carriage Cafe in Lopen (Best Cafe), near South Petherton, where you can eat their yummy food sitting in a vintage railway carriage or an old doubledecker bus.

Newton Surmaville itself is totally stunning, with 60 acres of parkland and beautifully tended walled gardens, where you’ll find all 12 botanicals which got to create Newton House Gin.

Even the distillery is picture postcard perfect.

Inside, three copper stills Unity, Liberty and Hope do their job, with fruit sitting above soaking up the gin. As well as their classic gin, they also make a mulled, damson and cherry versions.

Although Newton House is a private residence, you can stay on the estate in 18th century The Gardener’s Cottage and sip your gin on your private terrace and take in the views over the gardens.



Art gallery: Black Swan Arts, Frome

Bar: Bocabar, Glastonbury

Beauty Salon: Essence Hair & Beauty, Wedmore

Bookshop: Brendon Books, Taunton

Boutique StayEsme’s Escape, Haselbury Plucknett

Cafe: The Railway Carriage Cafe, Lopen

Children’s Business: Spotty Herberts, Bath

Day Spa: Elements Boutique Spa, Middlezoy

Destination Pub: The Candlelight Inn, Bishopswoood

Family Attraction: Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Cheddar

Farm Shop/Deli: Trading Post Farm Shop, Lopen

Fitness Instructor: Hannah Lamputt, Space Gym, Bath

Florist: Cottage Flowers, Ilminster

Gift ShopRocket & Bird, Taunton

Hair SalonMelanie Giles, Frome/Bath

Interiors StoreKobi & Teal, Frome (lucky winners of one of the national prizes, £500 Winser London clothing).

Jewellery StoreChristina Oswin, Frome

Local Food/Drink Producer: Brown & Forrest, Hambridge

Newcomer: Take No Wrap, Yeovil

Photographer: Len Copland, Yeovil

Restaurant: The Olive Tree, Bath

Theatre/Arts VenueThe Octagon, Yeovil

Women’s StoreBibico, Bath

Yoga/Pilates: Sharon Davies, Total Pilates, Taunton



Huge thanks once again to everyone who voted in the Awards, to all the businesses that took part and also to the spectacular Newton House for hosting our Winner’s Drinks Party.

Same time next year?

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