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Chase slams deluge of ‘fake' distilleries

“Don't say it's ‘homemade' if comes from a factory,” says the founder of the Chase Vodka

William Chase Chase Distillery

“Don't say it's ‘homemade' if comes from a factory,” says the founder of the Chase Vodka

“It's time for food and drink producers to be honest with the buying public and it's time to expose the fakes. If it's factory-produced then don't advertise it as ‘homemade. If it's the same beverage, don't change the label just to increase the price.

A lot of brand owners are product pushers and just get someone else to make their product and to take a risk. How can you sell an award winning product if you haven't event made it?”

The reason we got into the distilling business is that the famous brands such as Grey Goose, Belvedere and Ketel all are owned by massive companies just focusing on marketing a mass produced product.

They lead the consumer into thinking its high quality by charging a lot of money for something that is cheap to produce.

Now everyone from small start-ups to large corporations are hiring public relations firms to come up with ‘twee stories,’ so these can pretend to be something they aren't.”

In northern England there is a distillery that sells bottles of gin at three different prices: £15, £25 and £35 but the gin itself is the same. The drink's botanical mix hardly changes, the only difference between the three is the bottle design.

Now new small distilleries are popping up, pretending to produce homemade spirits when it's all made with cheap ingredients. It's not as bad if it's a small operation but when it starts getting mass marketed, then it becomes a con job.”

It's not just about my brand, it's about this segment of the market. I don't want people to see my product and, because of cheap imitators, think it just another one of those mass-produced beverages you can buy in bulk.

I'm not saying everyone has to have their own farm to grow their own ingredients. I am saying they should contract with farmers to get the best product. Then put more time and effort into the distilling process."


About Chase

William Chase was raised in Herefordshire, where he has grown potatoes for more than 20 years. He founded Tyrrells' English Crisps in 2002 and sold three-quarters of it to Langholm Capital in 2008.

The idea for producing vodka came about after seeing all the leftover potatoes that weren't good enough for his crisps. Then in 2004, he found a small distillery in the US making potato vodka.

The distillery is housed in a converted hop kiln barn amongst 1000 acres of rolling fields of potatoes, apple orchards and Herefordshire cattle. The distillery's products come from the home grown ingredients and artisan methods used to make them.

Chase began making vodka in 2004 when he discovered potato vodka and how different it is from the usual grain variety. He was convinced he could do better because he could grow, mash and distill his potatoes on his farm. He knew this would create a genuine quality product with true pedigree and provenance. After selling his multinational crisps business, Tyrrells, he sourced the very best handcrafted equipment, consisting of a large copper pot still and a one-of-a-kind 70-foot rectification column (the tallest one in Europe). He built his own distillery by converting his farm's old hop kiln barn.

All products are bottled & labelled by hand at the distillery.
 The liqueurs are also made with the Chase Vodka.

Williams Gin is made by turning apples into cider, cider into vodka and that vodka into gin. The apples are organically grown on Chase's farm.



11 February 2013