The first distillery in the Cotswolds has been established, and building work is progressing on schedule. This is an ambitious move for English whisky, as there are currently only five English distilleries producing whisky. The new Cotswolds Distillery will produce ultra-premium, small batch single malt whisky, in addition to Cotswolds Dry Gin, an innovative English rye whisky and a range of other artisanal spirits. It is uniquely located in a designated rural Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has been founded by businessman Daniel Szor, who lives in the Cotswolds and London. The first limited edition of 5,000 bottles of ‘single estate’ Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky will be available for reservation and pre-sale at the end of March 2014, as well as a limited number of casks which will be laid down for a minimum of five years. www.cotswoldsdistillery.com
Daniel Szor has assembled a highly experienced team to embark on the creation of the distillery. It includes renowned Scottish master distiller Harry Cockburn and wood and ageing consultant Jim Swan. Until its flagship unpeated Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky is first released – in 2017 – the distillery will begin production this summer and sell its Cotswolds Dry Gin, made with local botanicals, as well as a blended malt whisky. It will also produce a range of brandies and liqueurs made from local fruits and berries, as well as Cotswolds cream liqueur made with its own new make spirit, and a fortified sherry. All of the products will have a distinctive regional character and will be made by using traditional hand distillation techniques.
In addition to its single malt, Cotswolds also plans to offer an innovative rye whisky, Traitor’s Ford Rye, so-named to evoke a spirit from the ‘rebel south’ – of England, in this case – as the nearby Traitor’s Ford was named for its role in the English Civil War of 1642-1644.
The distillery is set in five acres of prime rural farmland on the outskirts of Stourton, six miles from Chipping Norton. Its two Cotswold stone buildings are being renovated and equipped as the distillery, tasting rooms and offices. The adjoining large, open pasture gives sweeping views of the picturesque countryside and will soon be home to a small herd of English Longhorn cattle.
This area of the Cotswolds carries the official designation of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which gives rise to the distillery’s tagline, ‘Outstanding Natural Spirits’. No other artisanal distillery exists in the Cotswolds.
Daniel Szor, founder of The Cotswold Distilling Company, explains the opportunity ahead: “We are excited to be creating an adventurous new landmark for the region and for English whisky. Behind our vision of establishing a distillery of worldwide renown, there is long-term investment and a considerable commitment of skills and resources. We intend all our products to be worthy ambassadors for the region and certainly aim to produce a flagship single malt that is characteristic of the region’s heritage, and every bit as good and intriguing as whisky neighbours to the north.” Funding for the project comes from Daniel and his family and also the Cotswolds Distillery Founders Circle, which is offering interested investors an opportunity to take part in the project.
The Cotswolds Distillery, Phillip’s Field, Whichford Road, Stourton (Shipston-on-Stour), Warwickshire, CV36 5HG United Kingdom. www.cotswoldsdistillery.com
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