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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Work to start on £1.5m Keswick distillery

Building work is due to start on the site of a £1.5 million distillery near Keswick.

Paul Currie is behind plans to renovate a Victorian farm, near Bassenthwaite, to produce Cumbria’s first whisky and gin.

He said the plant itself had now been ordered and building work is due to start in the next two months.

Mr Currie, who set up a distillery on the Isle of Arran 15 years ago, got permission for the conversion in 2011.

He plans to set up the Lakes Distillery at Low Barkhouse Farm together with a visitor centre, including tours, a shop and a cafe.

It is expected that the distillery will produce 100,000 litres of whisky a year plus the county’s first branded gin.

“The location could not be better,” he said.

“The peaty water from the fells will blend nicely to create a wonderful taste that will appeal.”

The distillery will contain two stills for the production of whisky, one wash and one spirit.

They will have a capacity of 3,500 litres and are currently being built in Scotland.

Mr Currie said there would be a third small still in the still house which will produce the only Lakes gin on the market, using local juniper berries.

“There is no reason why we cannot create a brand that goes global because we have all the right ingredients,” he said.

Mr Currie said there was a heritage of whisky in Cumbria in the past but “not all of it was legal!”

“It’s a tradition we’d like to revive and spread to the masses,” he said.

He hopes to capitalise on the county’s strong tourism trade and said visitors could also experience Bassenthwaite lake and Keswick.

He said he hoped to open the visitor centre at the end of 2013, with production of whisky and gin starting around the same time.

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