England’s largest distillery has officially opened its doors to the public in its picturesque setting overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria.
Visitors can now take an atmospheric tour of The Lakes Distillery at Setmurthy which makes malt whisky, gin and vodka.
They can see the warehouse filled with maturing whisky; take a high definition cinematic journey following the water used within the spirits from the River Derwent as it flows down from Sprinkling Tarn through Keswick into Bassenthwaite Lake and on to the Irish Sea and hear the story of Cumbria’s notorious distiller and smuggler, Lanty Sleek, before ending the journey in the tasting room.
There is also a bistro seating up to 130 diners whose kitchen team is headed up by talented Cumbrian chef, Andrew Beaton, and overseen by Newcastle-based internationally renowned culinary expert and restaurateur Terry Laybourne.
Offering what is described as “delicious honest food served in relaxed but chic surroundings,” diners can enjoy everything from a cup of coffee and slice of cake to a three-course supper using the highest quality Cumbrian ingredients, with some dishes linked to distillery products.
The Lakes Distillery – the only one in Cumbria – has been three years in the making and has cost £6m to develop.
Managing director Paul Currie – whose background is in the whisky business and who in 1995 set up the Isle of Arran Distillers alongside his father - says of his ambitious new venture: “The Lakes Distillery is set to be a key attraction for the Lake District and we estimate that we will accommodate approximately 55,000 visitors each year.
“It is wonderful to see everything come together, from the sympathetic renovation of our stunning Victorian farm and the formation of our highly skilled team, to the start of production of our spirits and the development of the menu and style of our bistro.
“We are so excited to open and can’t wait to see the response of our visitors.”
The endeavour is set to produce one million bottles of The Lakes Single Malt every year, making it potentially a challenger to Scotland and the closest English whisky distillery to the Border.
The first bottles of the malt, which will be lightly peated and be more akin to the whiskies from the Scottish Highlands rather than Islay, will be available from 2017.
But The Lakes Distillery is already producing a special British Isles blended whisky, aptly called The One, which is now on sale. A unique blend, it uses exceptional whiskies from across Britain.
Find out more about The Lakes Distillery and buy online at www.lakesdistillery.com