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English Whisky Guild launched to promote English whisky

A group of 15 England’s whisky distilleries have unveiled their new marketing group, the English Whisky Guild (EWG), that aims to expand and protect the burgeoning English whisky scene. 

Husband-and-wife team Max & Claire Vaughan of White Peak Distillery, which launched its first whisky earlier this year, are among the founding members.

The move, which was revealed by db earlier this year, comes as the global market for whisky is forecast to grown from $60bn now to $108bn over the next ten years. Meanwhile the volume of spirit produced by English distilleries, which now number 40 in total, is forecasted to grow 189% from 2019-2023, with the number of bottles expected to grow by around 418%, according to the English Whisky Guild.

The group of distilleries have been collaborating on the project for a number of months, to support each other, recognise innovation, help individual businesses develop and also support their ability to create great whisky “without too many constraints” .

Speaking to db in February, White Peak Distillery’s co-founder Max Vaughan said that the owners and founders of whisky distilleries all felt very strongly that they needed to ensure that English whisky becomes a category in its own right and is recognised “for the right reasons,” he said.

The  Guild said its mission was to have an “overarching vision of showcasing and protecting the remarkable quality and diversity of the now numerous, unique whiskies that are crafted in England” and to encourage and showcase the diversity of flavour profiles and production techniques which underpin the sector.

One of its first steps has been to submit a Geographical Indicator (‘GI’) to Defra, which, if passed, would legally define English whisky to ensure consistent, understandable standards for all current and prospective distillers, of all sizes. The GI also contains proposals to bolster and support other connected UK industries, for example, grains used must be both grown and malted in the UK.

The founding members comprises 15 distilleries across England, from Northumberland to Kent, Shropshire to East Anglia; Ad Gefrin, Adnams Southwold, Bimber Distillery, Cooper King Distillery, Cooper Rivet Distillery, Cotswolds Distillery, East London Liquor Co., Henstone Distillery, Spirit of Yorkshire, Distillery, The English Whisky Co., The Lakes Distillery, The Oxford Artisan Distillery, Wharf Distillery, White Peak Distillery and Whittaker’s Distillery.

The EWG’s chairman Andrew Nelstrop of the English Whisky Company said that English whisky was “synonymous with independence, innovation and creativity”.

“The formation of the Guild and the submission of the GI application supports these shared values whilst also establishing production standards that ensure that any whisky labelled as ‘English’ is of the highest quality. It also marks a significant step in the long-term development and promotion of English whisky. We would welcome other English distilleries joining us at this exciting time,” he said.

Whisky writer David Broom commented that this move was “a significant and hugely welcome step in the evolution of English whisky” that would “ensure that the open-minded and varied manner in which England’s distillers are approaching whisky will be safeguarded”.
“Having an agreed set of production standards is vital for any whisky producing nation as it helps to guide distillers while not restricting innovation. More importantly, it exists to protect consumers,” he said.

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