Sloe Gin World Championship 2020

The date of the 11th Sloe Gin World Championship’, usually held near Christmas at the George Inn village pub in Frant on the Kent/Sussex border near Tunbridge Wells, has been announced.

It will take place on Saturday 1st February, about six weeks later than usual.

Pub landlord Greg Elliott explained there are several reasons for pushing it back into the New Year:  “It was difficult squeezing the popular event in among Christmas party bookings – and losing entrants blamed the short maturation time for their lack of success, so we’re combining the Championships with a celebration to the end of Dry January.

“This will be the first time the Championships have been held on a Saturday – at the request of many competitors who travel long distances to compete, who want to spend a weekend in the area.

“We have entrants who drive from Germany to take part and postal entries are received from as far afield as Vancouver,” said Greg

All proceeds will be donated to UK Sepsis Trust UK.  The charity works to highlight the dangers of sepsis, which kills over 50,000 people in the UK each year. 

Untreated, sepsis which is often mistaken for flu or other conditions, can kill within hours.  Learn about the tell-tale danger signs at

The organisers decided to adopt UK Sepsis Trust after learning about a local family who live at Eridge Green near Crowborough in East Sussex, who lost their student son, Tim Mason aged 21 to the disease in 2018,  Tim an electrical engineering student aged 21, died after being discharged from Tunbridge Wells Hospital, having been misdiagnosed by doctors.

Tim’s parents now campaign to prevent a repeat of their tragedy and push for the potentially life-saving Meningitis ACWY vaccination, for young people by NHS England.

Tim’s grieving mother Fiona said: “My aim is for every 18-25-year-old in the country to have the vaccination and to see changes in A&E and the sepsis protocol – let’s get it sorted before more children die.”

The annual event began more than 10 years ago when pub locals began arguing over the perfect sloe gin recipe and brought their own concoctions to compare.   It has since grown exponentially.

The organisers hope to encourage other publicans to host their own competitions for charity as regional; heats, then send winning sample through to the World Championship finals.

“Ideally, we like a pub chain and a gin distiller to sponsor the Championships, to raise more money for good causes, whilst enjoying a tipple,” said publican Greg Elliott.

The winner of the commercial entry has been won for the past two years by London-based Mother’s Ruin.  Edinburgh’s Demi John is a three times winner.

Commercial entries cost £25 and amateur ones £5.  Full details at

Editors’ Notes:

Sloes, a smaller relative of the plum, are used to make the red liqueur normally with an alcohol content between 15 and 30% abv. Traditionally it is made by infusing gin with the bitter-tasting drupes, using sugar to extract the sloe juices.

Sloe gin is made from ripe sloes that, by tradition, are picked after the first frost of winter. Each drupe should be hand-picked with a thorn taken from the blackthorn bush on which it grew. Some sloe gin connoisseurs say that the drupes may only be pricked silver pin or fork.

Modern protagonists pick the sloes earlier and freeze them, avoiding the pricking stage, claiming that this not only splits the drupes, but by analogy to ice wine, the freezing changes the flavour of the drupes. 

Dating to around 1750, the traditional country pub, with two bars and restaurant, traditional English food with continental influences, hand drawn beers, oak beams, a large enclosed garden and dogs lying by log fires in winter – The George Inn makes an ideal setting to judge the most traditional of seasonal liqueurs.

Two miles south of Tunbridge Wells, Frant is bordered by Eridge Park and is on the High Weald Walk making it a popular stop for walkers. The heart of the local community, the busy George Inn has its own golf society, “the Gofers” and is a meeting point for several local clubs and societies. Winter is enlivened by the Monday night quiz, special food nights, and darts competitions.

Fabulous food

We are very proud of our home-cooked food, which is made to order from local produce. Click the menu image below to view our menu.

Click here to view or download the George Inn menu