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Issue 88 - The English Revolution

Whisky Magazine Issue 88
June 2010


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The English Revolution

Could we be on the edge of a English distilling revival, Neil J. Ridley looks to the past for an answer and Dominic Roskrow looks at the current legal side of the issue.

During the past four years, the United Kingdom has seen a thriving resurgence of independently run distilleries, eager to cater for the growing number of new spirits drinkers and their broadening palates. With small distilleries already achieving considerable successes in a short space of time, such as Kilchoman on Islay, a handful of brand new boutique operations have sprung up all over Scotland, from the likes of Daftmill in Fife, to the tiny Abhainn Dearg distillery on the Isle of Lewis, which produces just 20,000 litres of spirit annually.

But this renaissance is not simply confined to the canny Caledonians, recently England has also become host to a number of pioneering distillers.

This year, St George's distillery in Norfolk became England's first malt whisky distillery in more than 100 years, boldly flying the flag for its highly regarded (and well publicised) single malt.

Forty miles to the east in Southwold, local brewing legends Adnam's has just announced plans to install a small-scale distillery at their Sole Bay facility, becoming the first brewery in the UK to make beer and distil spirits on the same premises.

In the capital, the term ‘micro distillery' has also been taken to new extremes with fledgling gin makers Sipsmith, which is operating London's first new copper pot still (amusingly called ‘Prudence') in 189 years, from the site where late whisky and beer writer Michael Jackson had his offices.

Sipsmith's owners, Sam Galsworthy & Fairfax Hall, may ...

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