English Whisky Guild's first annual report praises category's "unique tapestry"

English Whisky Guild's first annual report praises category's "unique tapestry"

The English Whisky Guild hopes its annual report will become a useful tool for governments and other public bodies as well as spirits professionals and whisky enthusiasts

News | 04 Jun 2024 | By Bethany Brown

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The English Whisky Guild's first annual report has praised the progress of the category and its "tapestry of unique distilleries", as the membership organisation awaits a decision on its application to grant protected status to English whisky.


The annual report said that recent investment by English whisky distilleries in their operations, combined with steadily increasing sales and a growing awareness and popularity at home and abroad, were positioning English whisky well for future growth. 


Research by the English Whisky Guild (EWG) for the report found that sales of English whisky last year equated to roughly 50,000 9-litre cases; that English whisky is now being exported to more than 30 countries worldwide, with 40 per cent of it being sold outside the UK; and that in 2023 more than 250,000 people visited a whisky distillery in England.


Currently, the most pressing matter for the guild is its application to the UK government's Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs for a geographical indiction (GI) for English whisky, which would grant it similar legal protections to those offered to Scotch, Irish, and Welsh whiskies.


The EWG was founded in May 2022 following two years of discussion and planning. Its inaugural chairman was Andrew Nelstrop, founder of the English Distillery in Norfolk. He was succeeded by Dan Szor, founder of the Cotswolds Distillery, in October 2023. The guild now has 24 members, just under half of the operational distilleries in England, alongside a number of associate members including maltsters and packaging suppliers.


Its annual report includes statistical analysis of the English whisky sector in 2024, interviews with whisky makers, profiles of distilleries and associate members, and think pieces on pertinent topics including sustainability and the yet-to-be-decided application for a geographical indiction (GI) for single malt English whisky. It intends for the annual report to become a reference tool for public bodies, including governments, as well as spirits professionals and whisky enthusiasts.


Morag Garden, the guild's CEO, said: "The English Whisky Guild's annual review is more than just a publication; it's a testament to our collective spirit. As we raise our glasses to the inaugural edition, we invite everyone to join us on this journey of discovery and appreciation."


The EWG's first annual report can be found at englishwhiskyguild.com/annual-review.

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