Durham Distillery's owner on a massive year and move into whisky

16 January 2018

Known for its prestigious university and its magnificent cathedral, Durham is not the first place you’d associate with whisky. One distillery, and a £195m city regeneration, might be about to change all that.

Already known for its gin and vodka offerings, Durham Distillery is adding a – you guessed it – whisky to its portfolio.

Much of the detail is under wraps, but owner Jon Chadwick did sit down with us to discuss the 'first' whisky to be produced in the north east of England.

Durham Gin: A glimpse of what's to come?
Durham Gin: A glimpse of what's to come?

‘[This year] will be massive for us,’ Chadwick says. ‘We will start production of our first whisky and relocate to larger premises in Durham’s city centre.’

The move marks a decisive expansion for the four-year-old brand, which will help it increase production, storage capacity and draw in the punters. Private and corporate functions and daily tours will all be held at the brand-spanking new attraction.

When it comes to the whisky, Chadwick is tight-lipped but did say it’ll be smooth with a distinctive character and long finish. In terms of design, we’re told you can expect the bottle to be in line with the other Durham Distillery offerings.

It was important for the owner to create a whisky that competes, or you're setting yourself up to fail. A big trend in the category, Chadwick observes, is ‘creating high-quality products which appeal to a wide range of customers, some of whom might not be traditional whisky drinkers.’

And how about when it comes to the gin and vodka market? ‘They will keep on growing,’ he says. ‘Customers will increasingly seek out quality and knowledge rather than novelty, much like the way the wine market developed in the 80s and 90s.’

The Durham team has been working closely alongside the on-trade with the launch and Chadwick teases: ‘We have some good contacts in the on- and off-trade who are already very excited!’

More details about the whisky will be released in due course but those keen to get hold of a cask, case of bottle – which will be ready to drink in 2021 – can sign up now.

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