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New Lakes Distillery in Cumbria wins renovation award

The four-year refurbishment of what is England's largest distillery, which opened at the end of last year, has been recognised

Paul Currie, founder and managing director Lakes Distillery
Paul Currie, founder and managing director Lakes Distillery

The new Lakes Distillery has won a major award for its renovation of the derelict Victorian model farm where it’s based.

The distillery in the heart of the Cumbrian hills at Setmurthy overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake six miles from Keswick, has been voted the Best Small Commercial Building project in the North at the regional heats of the LABC Building Excellence Awards.

The venture also picked up a Highly Commended in the Best Change of Use of an Existing Building or Conversion category.

Originally built in 1860, the refurbishment and alteration of the existing buildings took four years of careful negotiations with the Lake District National Park planning authority to realise the dream to open what is England’s largest distillery producing the first ever British Isles blended whisky called The One, as well as gin and vodka.

Set to be one of the region’s most popular tourist attractions, it was vital the £7m development of The Lakes Distillery was both aesthetic and practical. Renovated to strict guidelines governing developments within the Lake District National Park, the project team used local materials, labour and techniques where possible.

Work started in early 2014, with the distillery opening in December last year, and wherever possible employed traditional materials and conservation techniques, including slate walling, lime mortar, Westmorland slate roofing and oak trusses.

Over 30 existing decorative stone and timber features that adorned the original buildings were retained and enhanced, the recurring theme being quatrefoils - clover shaped windows and vents - representing faith, hope, luck and love.

Additions have included a biomass boiler using locally sourced fuel which provides all heating, hot water and steam. Most of the by products from the distillation processes will be returned to local farmers for use as animal feed and for soil improvement.

Pumps have also been included to draw water used for the whisky gin and vodka production directly from the River Derwent, which runs just 150m from the distillery.

Paul Currie, The Lakes Distillery’s founder and managing director, says: “The expertise of the build team has been apparent throughout and is evident in the receipt of these awards.

“Our still equipment has been purpose made so the build team had the task of not only managing logistics around the installing of the equipment, which involved the removal and replacing of the roof, but also ensuring the build was strong enough through strengthening of the existing roof trusses and structure, to take the weight of the stills and production equipment.

“Not only is our distillery England’s largest, but we feel confident that thanks to the care and attention of the build in keeping with local tradition, that we’re certainly the most attractive also.”

For more information go to www.LakesDistillery.com

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