Lakes Distillery to produce English whisky from December

The new £2.5m Lakes Distillery will become the first whisky operation in the Lake District in more than 100 years, when it opens in December.

The venture is backed by a consortium of private investors and headed by Paul Currie, co-founder of Isle of Arran distillery in western Scotland.

Set on the edge of Bassenthwaite Lake, the distillery will be housed in a converted Victorian farm and will produce around 300,000 bottles of lightly peated single malt whisky per year, though the distillery’s capacity will be one million bottles.

Plans are also afoot for a New World blend, made of whiskies from outside of Scotland.

Curry said: “The water is ideal, flowing from a source at Sprinkling Tarn - one of the most beautiful tarns, or lakes, in Cumbria – through the foothills of Scafell Pike which are rich in peat and will give the whisky its unique flavor and depth. Combine that with the purity of the air and you have the perfect raw ingredients for distilling whisky.

“The area has a long history of illicit distilling as the fells provided an ideal location for hidden stills and smuggling, but is more than 100 years since the last whisky was produced here."

The facility will use “ the latest industry technology” including bespoke copper pot stills.

The first 100 casks produced at the distillery will be bottled for members of the Founders’ Club, an initiative designed to attract whisky enthusiasts to the brand.

Currie added: “Imagine if you could have bought one of the first bottles of one the great single malts. It’s going to be fascinating seeing how our spirit matures and we want connoisseurs and friends of the Lakes to be part of the journey.”

Along with the distillery the site will house a visitor centre – that offers tours of the site - a bar, bistro and shop, aimed at showcasing locally-sourced Cumbrian produce.

Further investment is also sought by the consortium to fund “future development”.