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England set for its fifth working distillery

By Dominic Roskrow

St George's in Norfolk is already well established, Hicks & Healey in Cornwall last year bottled England's oldest whisky, and Adnams Brewery in Southwold is maturing three different types of whisky at its impressive Copper House Distillery in Suffolk.

But now two more are set to join the English trio and all being well, both will be producing spirit in the Autumn.

The latest to join the 'flood' is the London Distillery Company, which is poised to be the first London distillery for more than a century. It is situated on the banks of The Thames in Battersea, and will be run by Darren Rook, who worked for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and has taken a distilling course.

He says that everything is in place for the start of distilling.

"We have got the money in place and we have had our stills made in Germany," he says. "We have had our licence pre-approved by the Inland Revenue. We've also taken on someone to work with me distilling from September.

"We're just waiting on planning permission but we're in an industrial area and London is more suited to craft distilling than perhaps the Lake District or Norfolk is, so it shouldn't hold us up."

Meanwhile work on the Lakes Distillery in Cumbria in the North-West of England is progressing nicely. Building work has now begun and production of their Lakes Gin will start later this summer.  

"This will combine local Lakes botanicals, including heather and bilberries, with those traditionally found in gin to produce a unique Cumbrian gin," says Paul Currie. "Our single malt whisky, The Lakes Malt, will then go into production in the late autumn using water from the River Derwent, which flows next to the distillery.  And in the spring next year their visitor centre will open, with tours, café and shop at the distillery’s beautiful location near Bassenthwaite Lake."

The Lake district has a long history of illicit distilling and smuggling, but the Lakes Distillery will be the first legal distillery to operate there.

In other news, St George's Distillery is looking to significantly increase its production capacity.