In 1870 Mr. Harry Hobbs, founder of Hobbs and Sons (now Hobbs of Henley) and publican of The Ship Hotel was renowned throughout the town for his flamboyant beard and high-spirited nature. He was often seen in his punt around 11am enjoying his home-distilled gin.
Frequently spotted sipping from his unique glass or his wood-rimmed drinking flask, Mr Hobbs was forever throwing river parties along the banks of the Thames in Henley. He also hired out his boats for like-minded members of the public to host their own shindigs.
When perusing the Hobbs of Henley business archives, records pointed us towards the rumours that Harry had been distilling his own gin back in the day and it inspired our journey to follow in his footsteps.
We started to investigate local botanicals and embark on creating our own gin as a salute to the man who started it all and to mark the 150th anniversary of the family business, Hobbs of Henley.
Today we are very proud to share our cherished family tipples with you and raise a glass of Mr Hobbs Gin to our Henley heritage.
Hobbs is a Henley institution, as inextricably linked with the genteel Oxfordshire town as the world-famous Royal Regatta. Established by H.E. (Harry) Hobbs in 1870, it is a family business through and through.
The present Managing Director, Jonathan Hobbs, is the great, great grandson of the founder. Indeed the Hobbs family doesn’t do things by half, being able to trace its ancestry through the direct male line back to 1490 – another Harry Hobbs of Hambleden!
Hobbs of Henley’s first base was in Wharfe Lane, at the town’s original riverside wharfe, but a move to new premises in Station Road followed in 1898. The company is still there today. Business boomed, pleasure boating on the Thames thrived and further boatyards were acquired at Goring and Shiplake.
Hobbs of Henley now boasts the largest hire fleet on the River Thames, owning over 60 boats which range from rowing boats to luxury passenger vessels. With 150 years of boating experience, the 5th generation family business is still thriving.