New £14m Ad Gefrin distillery and visitor experience to open in England

New £14m Ad Gefrin distillery and visitor experience to open in England

The distillery has launched a blended whisky, Tácnbora, ahead of the commencement of production of its own spirit

News | 28 Oct 2022

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The team behind the new Ad Gefrin distillery and museum in northern England have revealed their plans for the £14 million facility.

Located in Wooler, Northumberland, Ad Gefrin will comprise a whisky distillery – the first legal distillery in the county in 200 years – and a state-of-the-art museum and visitor experience that explores the region's Anglo-Saxon heritage.

Ahead of the facility's opening to the public in February 2023, and the commencement of its own distilling operation, Ad Gefrin is launching a range of blended whiskies. Named Tácnbora (meaning 'standard bearer' in Old English), the range aims to incorporate whiskies from nations whose people would have occupied the historical Kingdom of Northumbria: Scotland, Ireland, England and Scandinavia.

The first Tácnbora release is a blend of Scottish and Irish whiskies, featuring both grain and malt spirits that have been matured in a mixture of American oak and oloroso sherry casks. It will be available to purchase online from 1 November.

The Ad Gefrin distillery has been fitted out by Forsyths of Rothes, and the team plan to use locally grown barley and water from their own borehole to create their spirits. Distillation is expected to start in November 2022, but the distillery has not yet slated a date for its first whisky release, instead taking an "it's ready when it's ready" approach.

The first Tácnbora blended whisky from Ad Gefrin

The distillery team is led by director of distilling Ben Murphy, formerly of Berentsens Brygghus in Norway and Poetic Licence Distillery in Sunderland, England. Murphy is joined by Canadian distiller Craig Stock, formerly of England's Durham Distillery, and Germano Molinari, a recent postgraduate from Heriot-Watt University's Institute of Brewing and Distilling. The team has also been advised by Alan Rutherford, former president of the Malt Distillers Association of Scotland and council member of the Scotch Whisky Association.

"We are really excited to become a part of the growing English whisky scene, a scene that is full of exciting and inspiring producers," Murphy said. "Northumberland is a hugely rich and resource-full county. Currently most of the malting barley grown in Northumberland goes north to produce Scotch, so having that on our doorstep, and then working with Simpsons Malt, up the road in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, we have created a growers group of farmers local to Wooler who have grown this year’s harvest of barley for us. Combining that with our water, that has worked its way to our bore hole from the Cheviot Hills behind the distillery, we are very lucky in the to have such amazing resources at our disposal."

He added: "Our distillery is designed to maximise flavour, whether through the washbacks or the stills themselves. Combining them with our wood policy, we will embrace the variations and changes we will inevitably see in our spirit."
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