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English whisky distilleries to form their own marketing group

England’s whisky distilleries are set to form their own marketing group to further the burgeoning English whisky scene, which will be unveiled later this spring, db can reveal.

The new Forsyth stills in place

The group – which one distiller called “the worst kept secret in the industry” – is still in the relatively early stages in terms of but will reveal itself over the coming months.

Speaking at a recent tasting, White Peak Distillery’s co-founder Max Vaughan said the group constituted “everyone that currently had a whisky in the market – or was set to release one”.

“The great thing is that right now, everyone round the table is a founder of a distillery, who has invested very heavily, personally and financially [into the industry] and we all feel very strongly that we need to ensure English whisky does become a category and will be recognised for the right reasons,” he said.

Although the group’s structure and plans are still under wraps, the aim is to support English distilleries aspirations for quality, recognise innovation, help individual businesses develop and also support their ability to create great whisky “without too many constraints” .

“There is a very strong meeting of minds on all those points,” Vaughan said.

Dan Szor, founder and CEO of  Cotswold Distillery , which last week announced it was quadrupling production, added that it was “very exciting” and underscored what was happening in the category.

“2021 was a key year for us when whisky really came into its own,” he said. “We had an unexpectedly popularly second product, our gin, which helped the recognition of the brand, but we’re in our fifth year of production of whisky now, and it was last year that we saw demand take of, both internationally and in the UK. What pleased me the most was the success of our entry level whisky, our flagship single malt, in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose in a national listing. I loved seeing it on the fixture next to Scottish legends like Glenfiddich 12, Glenlivet 10, Aberlour and The Macallan – and it selling well.”

“If we can compete with established Scottish single malts in the aisles of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose – not just in the specialist whisky shops, that’s a sign for me that there’s a lot of room for growth.”

Since the first English whisky distillery was founded in 2006, the number of distilleries has grown to 33 across England. There are also two whisky distilleries – Penderyn and Aber Falls, in Wales.

Read more about English and Welsh whisky in the March issue of The Drinks Business.

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