- Published on Thursday, 17 January 2013 15:34
- Written by Carol Emmas
Further investment is being sought for a £2.5-million new distillery, The Lakes Distillery, which is to be built in Cumbria and opened at the back end of 2013.
Headed up by Paul Currie, who set up the Isle of Arran distillery in the 1990s, funds have been raised from private investors with some grant funding, which is sufficient to allow work on the site to start this April.
Located at a 19th-century farm near Bassenthwaite Lake, the production of single malt whisky and gin will start towards the end of this year, and a visitor centre will open in March 2014, which will include a bar/bistro, shop and tours. It is hoped the distillery will be one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Lakes and will create 27 jobs.
Managing director Paul Currie said: "The landscape is one of fast-flowing rivers, rugged mountains and clean pure air. These conditions are very much like those found in Scotland and they are ideal for producing malt whisky."
He added: "Cumbria is very much a Celtic region and until the 13th century was part of Scotland. But prior to now, it has not produced a legal whisky. With single malt distilleries opening up in many countries worldwide, from Australia to Sweden, it is right that Cumbria should step up to its natural heritage."
The distillery will produce around 300,000 bottles of whisky per year and the Lakes Malt will be aimed at the growing number of malt whisky enthusiasts worldwide.
The brewing plant will use the latest techniques from the brewing industry and the copper stills will be made in Scotland to a unique design. A range of different casks will be used so that the spirit is perfectly matured. Currie said the water is "ideal", flowing through peat from its source at Sprinkling Tarn.
The company has also launched a Founders' Club, offering whisky enthusiasts the opportunity to grab a piece of history in the making. The first 100 casks produced will be set aside and exclusively bottled for members.
It will also be producing a gin, using local botanicals including juniper, which grows in the Lakes.