A SHAKESPEAREAN actor is stepping down from centre stage in order to pursue a new creative challenge.

Andrew Arnold-Bennett of Sunderland Terrace, Ulverston spent four years working at the Globe Theatre in London but has given it up to develop his new range of gin, made in his very own back garden.

Mr Arnold-Bennett said: "Whisky was my main tipple but I've got into gin in the past few years.

"I know a few people involved in the brewing industry and I wasn't interested in beer and making ales so gin seemed liked something I could make a go of.

"Getting the flavour is pretty complex because you need to make sure the main ingredient is juniper, so layering other items on top is hard but it's all a question of balance and I'm learning as I go along.

"No matter how stressed I get making it nothing is as good as the real finished product."

Shed 1 Distillery Ulverston will produce around three stock flavours of gin using locally sourced goods.

But strong measures of guest gins made using seasonal items will also make an appearance.

The company name stems from the two sheds in the Arnold-Bennett garden- number one of course where the alcohol will be made and number two full of tools.

Still fairly new to distilling, the Lancashire born actor has had to apply for many licences and hopes the website will soon be up and running.

The aim is for Shed 1 to soon supply local hotels and bars with their products.

Mr Arnold-Bennett who played Antonio in the Merchant of Venice had travelled the world with productions from South Korea to America.

After realising he no longer wanted to spend large periods of time away from his wife Zoe he started thinking about a career change.

The 49-year-old moved to the Furness area around 15 years-ago and is happy to stay put in south Cumbria.

Volunteers to sample the unusually-flavoured delights have already stepped forward in their masses.

Tastes of chilli, cardamon and 'Christmas' have already made their way into several bottles.

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