The Cotswolds Distillery has opened (22 July 2014), and the first phase of this new-build project represents an
investment of over £4 million.
The ambitious vision by founder Daniel Szor for the first ever world-class distillery in the region is long-term and sustainable. It will create quality whisky, gin and liqueurs with artisan qualities and provenance, and pioneer the production of quality spirits from the Cotswolds. Whilst integrating into the local business community and countryside, and remaining true to craft brewing principles, it will fulfil commercial and international objectives that will place the region on the world map of fine spirits. This is an ambitious move particularly for English whisky, as there are currently only five English distilleries producing whisky.
Enterprising new distilling team with an experimental vision
Working with Daniel Szor, is a team of three distillers; each brings his own expertise in whisky and gin, as well as liqueurs and specialities. Head Distiller is Alex Davies, who is respected as a dynamic young distiller with superb credentials and qualifications and an MSc degree in brewing & distilling from the world renowned Heriot Watt University Edinburgh. Alex Davies and Assistant Distillery Manager Shaun Smith will work closely under consultant Master Distiller Harry Cockburn and Wood and Ageing Expert Jim Swan. Working on classic principles, the team will also venture into new research and techniques.
Scottish and German precision-built stills
Distillery equipment has been painstakingly sourced, with long lead time planning and tailormade specifications.
Two copper pot stills for whisky come from Forsyth: 2,400 litre wash still, 1,600 litre spirit still.
Mash size is 500 kilos (0.5 tonne) of malt per batch.
Expected output per batch is 300 litres (bulk spirit), or 1.5 barrels.
The 500 litre gin still is sourced from Holstein.
Ambitious distilling - gin and whisky
Batch sizes will be meticulously controlled. The first batches will comprise 300 litres of spirit going into barrels (whisky), and 175 litres of high-proof gin (equivalent of over 400 70cl bottles at 46 percent abv).
Capacity of single malt whisky, and other spirits
The distilling team will work continuously, six days a week, over 250 distilling days per year, to create 150,000 bottles of whisky, 100,000 bottles of gin, brandy and other white spirits per year.
Purchase of raw ingredients
The scale of sourcing will have a notable impact in benefitting regional organic farming. In the first two years, 250 tonnes of malted barley will be ordered. (Five tonnes per mash, 250 days per year).
An expansive distribution strategy
Sales and distribution will focus initially on the gin (from September 2014). The distillery will work with local and national distributors, and also drive export sales. The distillery forecasts selling 10,000 bottles of gin before the end of 2014.
Investment in three years of whisky maturation
The distillery has purchased custom-made, re-charred American oak barrels and bourbon and sherry casks.
The Cotswolds Distillery, Phillip’s Field, Whichford Road, Stourton (Shipston-on-Stour), Warwickshire, CV36 5HG United Kingdom. www.cotswoldsdistillery.com