It isn’t just Scotland that has seen an explosion of new whisky distilleries since the turn of the new millennium – 37 and counting [WLP]. Cooper King first produced their English Whisky Distillery map in 2016 which included 24 new distilleries:
Now on its 3rd edition, the revised map ‘details a whole host of distilleries with mature whisky, those laying down casks and many new distilleries under construction‘ [CKD]. I’ve omitted those operations which appear to be distilling just gin & vodka, and/or whose intentions are unclear [to me]. Those are Black Bottle, Canterbury, Sadler’s, Ten Hides, Wrecking Coast. Feel free to set me straight if this is not the case.
As I see it, England has seen the birth of no fewer than 29 new distilleries since the establishment of St. George’s in 2006. In alphabetical order:
Ad Gefrin – Wooler, Northumberland, est. ?? website: ‘,… re-awakening the Northumbrian tradition for Whisky distilling that has slept for over 200 years‘, Ad Gefrin is due to open in Autumn 2022.
Anno – Marden, Kent, est. 2011. Founded by chemists Dr. Andy Reason and Dr. Norman Lewis who left their roles in the pharmaceutical industry to open Kent’s first gin & whisky distillery in 200 years. The name ‘Anno’ is a combination of their names – (An)dy and (No)rman. Th Their website says: ‘The mash was fermented by Westerham Brewery at their Pootings site and then the wash was distilled by Anno Distillers in Marden, with the exclusive cask being filled in May 2015. In 2018 the resting spirit officially became whisky‘ [WB].
Bankhall – Blackpool, est. ?? tWB: ‘Headed up by Vince Oleson, previously from the Widow Jane Distillery in Brooklyn, the team at Bankhall have re-imagined the traditional whisky process in the UK, drawing inspiration and ingenuity from the US‘. Master Distiller at Halewood’s Bankhall Distillery said: “There are very few distilleries producing sweet mash outside of the US, so having the opportunity to take on production at the site here in Blackpool is awesome‘ [WB].
Bimber – London, est. 2015 [website/WLP]. Even [English] peeps not into whisky might have heard of Bimber,….. Selfridges customers in particular! It’s still early days for this Acton-based distillery, but they enjoy a committed far-reaching fan base. Distillery #2 – Dunphail in Scotland – is currently crowdsourcing.
Chase – Hereford, est. 2008 [website]. With a focus towards potato-based vodka and gin, additionally, 40 casks are being filled with malted-barley spirit every year to mature into whisky.
Cooper King – Yorkshire, est. 2018 wiki: Inspired by a trip to whisky distilleries in Australia, the distillery is ‘named after co-founder Chris Jaume’s great-great-grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Cooper King, who traced the family’s history back to Yorkshire in 1030 AD’. This makes it three [whisky distilleries] for Yorkshire.
[Adnams] Copper House – Southwold, Suffolk, est. 2010 [website]. Situated within Adnams brewery, Copper House makes anything from gin to absinthe as well as a whisky range from different grains.
Copper Rivet – Chatham, Kent, est. 2016 [website]. Another distillery for Kent, Copper Rivet is owned by the Russell family. The distillery’s inaugural single malt was released in 2020. Further reading: tSB
Cotswolds – est. 2014 [WLP] The brainchild of Dan Szor, this gem of a place and its whisky has been making waves since its appearance at The Whisky Show in 2017.
Circumstance – est. 2018 [website]. Making whisky and rum from a pot/column still, their first spirit batch release [WB] saw a 13-day fermentation.
Dartmoor – Devon, est. 2016 [website]. Situated just North of Torquay, they distill using a rejuvenated 50yo alembic still acquired from Cognac that lay unused for nearly 40 years.
Durham – est. 2014 [website]. Predominantly producing gin & vodka, the distillery started producing whisky when it relocated in 2018 [more info needed].
East London Liquor Company – website: ‘The soul of the East End runs through our distillery, our team and our products. To us that represents honesty, grit, hard work and the fight for transparency’. Speaking of their [100% malted barley from Norfolk, aged in a combination of regenerated French oak, red wine, Sonoma Rye and Bourbon, Kentucky Bourbon, and London Rye casks] single malt, they say: ‘Meet our 2021 take on a single malt. Smells of ripe pineapple, oatmeal biscuits, peanut brittle, and a hint of cigar box and tastes of stewed apples, allspice, honeysuckle, and even a few Szechuan peppers‘.
Forest – Macclesfield, Peak District, est. ?? website: ‘Lindsay & Karl Bond began home distilling tiny batches of spirits from the kitchen table in our home,…. things have rapidly moved on. The Forest Distillery is now housed within a beautiful stone barn in the Peak District National Park‘.
Henstone – Shropshire, est. 2017 [website]. Chris Toller went from telecommunications to pulling pints at his local before coming up with the idea of distilling that beer to produce whisky. Further reading: WLP.
Hicks & Healey – Cornwall. Not technically a distillery in its own right, H&H is ‘,… a joint partnership between St Austell Brewery and Healeys Cyder farm,… Producers of the first whisky out of Cornwall for over 300 years’ [tWP].
Isle of Wight – est. 2015 [website]. Using local barley, the distillery produces whisky, vodka, and gin.
The Lakes – Lake District [WLP]. Whilst Harold Currie [co-founder of Arran Distillery] and his son Andrew Currie attempted to open Lakesland Distillery at the end of 2006, Harold’s other son – Paul Currie – successfully establish The Lakes Distillery 9 years later. The rest as they say,…. is whisky!
[The] London Distillery Company – est. 2012 wiki: ‘London’s first whisky distillery since the Lea Valley distillery closed in 1903‘. Their first malted barley-based whisky – cask #109 [WLP85/86] – was released in 2019. I believe TLDC is now CLOSED.
Ludlow – Shropshire, est. 2014 website/WB: ‘,… in 1995 Mike Hardingham planted a vineyard east of Ludlow, deep in the Shropshire Hills. In 2008, Mike was at the forefront of craft distilling and set about distilling brandy from his grapes and cider brandy from his apple orchard. By 2012, he’d secured a licence to distil whisky and began developing his super small batch products,…… Ludlow Whisky became part of the Wardington’s family in 2021.
[The] Oxford Artisan Company – est. ?? website: ‘,… the only distillery in the world to use populations of ancient heritage grains,….. Our commitment to soil quality, land regeneration, community and the environment goes beyond our passion for spirits’.
Princetown – Dartmoor. I believe this distillery is in the planning stages. S-T says: ‘,… the largest Whisky distillery project in England,…. being built on Duchy Land in the middle of Dartmoor National Park’. tDB: ‘At 1,400 feet above sea level it would be the highest distillery in the UK’.
Spirit of Yorkshire – est. 2016 [website/WLP]. Yorkshire’s first-ever single malt whisky distillery [now currently one of three] is headed by Whisky Director Joe Clark. SoY has a similar setup to Henstone in that it takes its beer from the owner’s brewery [2.5 miles up the road in this case], distilling it in pot/4-plate column variations.
St. George’s [English Whisky Company] – Norfolk, est. 2006 [website/WLP]. Re-booting English whisky-making in the 21st century, St. George’s was the first English whisky distillery in 100 years.
Weetwood – Tarporley, Cheshire website: ‘Creating Weetwood distillery was a long-held ambition which was realised in 2018 with the arrival of our custom-built copper still. in addition to our range of unaged spirits, we have a growing stock of casks filled with new make spirit to release as a unique single malt Cheshire whisky in 2022‘.
Wharf – Towcester, Northamptonshire, est. 2014 website: ‘,.. an independent small-batch copper-pot distillery producing a range of exciting grain-to-glass spirits and liqueurs. Their first whisky release was a 2015 vintage bottled in 2018 [WB], perhaps making them England’s smallest whisky distillery [though others have claimed that accolade].
White Peak – Derbyshire, est. 2017 [website]. A craft distillery focused on producing authentic, small-batch spirits using English barley, a special blend of live yeast with links to Derbyshire’s brewing heritage, and long fermentations – the spirit matured on-site. White Peak’s inaugural whisky was released just days ago [at time of writing – Feb 2022].
Whittaker’s – Harrogate, Yorkshire, est. 2015 website/WB: ‘Founded in 2015, the distillery produces gin for its Whittaker’s brand,…. The Harrogate Distillery revealed extensive expansion plans, which will allow the firm to open a visitor center and start distilling its own whisky‘.
Yarm – Stockton-On-Tees, Durham, est. ?? website: ‘,… an independent, family run company headed by Sam Marsden Company Director and Richard Marsden Master Distiller‘. Their malt whisky will be ready, at the earliest, on 28th June 2023.
There it is, for now. Did I miss any out? Let me know in the comments below.
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