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Issue 97 - Riding the Wave

Whisky Magazine Issue 97
July 2011


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Riding the Wave

Ed Bates and Dominic Roskrow look at the latest English distillers

After waiting for more than 100 years for an English Whisky producer St. George's distillery in Norfolk has got some company. Adnams, the family run 138 year-old Suffolk brewer, has opened a distillery at its Sole Bay Brewery in Southwold, a sleepy seaside town on the on the Suffolk coast. The new distillery is producing vodka, gin and liqueurs, as well as spirit that will be released as whisky, already in cask.

Following the re-fit of the main brewery in 2008, Adnams found themselves with a spare building, so following a £750,000 investment the new distillery was built in the refurbished old Copper House. The distillery has been installed with a pair of handmade copper column stills made by Carl of Germany, a family company whose experience in manufacturing distillery equipment stretches back 135 years. The choice of column rather than pot stills was taken so Adnams could make their own high quality gin and vodka, the commercial case for which was the initial impetus behind the project. However if you make your own vodka, then with a little tweaking whisky is but one more small step. A step that head distiller John McCarthy was very happy to make.

On visiting Adnams Copper House distillery it is immediately noticeable just how different the operation is from most distilleries in the country. Being English they have embraced the lack of restriction that Scottish distillers work under. After all there is no English Whisky Association, yet. The stills are an obvious differe...

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