Whisky Magazine Issue 122
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There's a spirit beginning to stir in the heart of the English countryside
They say you make your own luck, and Dan Szor has made an incredible amount of luck incredibly quickly.
For a mere 14 months after deciding to found his own distillery near his country home in the North Cotswolds, he's all set to fire up his 500L Holstein gin rectifying still; and his two Forsyth copper pot stills – a 2,400L wash still and a 1,600L spirit still – are only waiting to be connected to the gas before his first batch of new-make whisky drips out of the condenser.
New Yorker Dan spent 26 years as a currency trader, mostly in Paris and London, before his eureka moment hit him on a trip to Bruichladdich in May last year. A long-time whisky lover, he'd bought a cask ten years before and was on his annual pilgrimage to pat it and stroke it when he mentioned to manager Jim McEwan that he'd love to have a distillery of his own. Jim recommended him to Master Distiller Harry Cockburn, veteran of 15 start-ups across the globe; and suddenly the project was flying.
“I spoke to Jim on the Friday, rang Harry on the Sunday, and on the Monday we were in Sweden looking at second-hand equipment,” says Dan.
Things have moved at terrifying speed since then – and with speed has come luck. In 2011 Dan and his wife Katia had bought a country home near Shipston-on-Stour. When they were looking for a home for the Cotswold Distillery the ideal site came up only five miles away – a house and barn that had been empty ever since they were built only a few years before as a res...