RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


Distilleries team up to launch English Whisky Guild

The newly formed English Whisky Guild has stated its ambition to promote and protect English-made whiskies as the category's popularity skyrockets.

The guild's ambition is to showcase and protect the diversity of whisky being made in England, and offer support to both producers and consumers.

According to research by the English Whisky Guild, the volume of spirit produced by English distilleries is forecoast to grow by 189 per cent between 2019 and 2023, while the number of bottle sold is predicted to grow by 418% over the same period. At the same time, English whiskies are achieving accolades that previously were the sole dominion of Scottish distillers - for exmaple, World's Best Single Malt at the 2022 World Whiskies Awards, which went to The Lakes Distillery in Cumbria.

The English Whisky Guild aims to ensure that the high standards being established in the industry continue and thrive, while also encouraging and showcasing the diversity of flavour profiles and production techniques that underpin English whisky.

There are now more than 40 whisky distilleries in England and, with the value of the global whisky market projected to increase from US$60 billion to US$108 billion over the next decade, there is a significant opportunity for them to seize a bigger piece of the pie.

The English Whisky Guild currently comprises 15 founder members, including . Its first major project is to apply to the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for a Geographical Indication (GI) for English whisky; this will encompass legally binding production regulations, such as only using grains grown and malted in the UK. 

Alongside helping producers, the guild will also aim to build awareness among consumers of English whisky, creating spaces where it can be discovered and enjoyed.

England is following in the footsteps of other whisky-producing nations that are looking to establish production standards, not only to ensure the creation of high-quality spirits but also to protect consumers. These include Japan, where the Japanese Spirit and Liqueur Makers Association announced new legal standards governing the production of 'Japanese whisky' in 2021, and Ireland, where the production standards for 'Irish pot still whiskey' are currently under review.

Andrew Nelstrop, founder of the English Whisky Company and the English Whisky Guild's inaugural chairman, said: "English whisky is 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 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."

Abbie Neilson, co-founder of Cooper King Distillery, said: "Despite our 19th-century roots and nearly 100 years of production silence, the story of English whisky has only just begun. English whisky is witnessing unprecedented growth, with a tsunami of drinkers across the world discovering and experiencing spirit produced with incredible flavour diversity and to the highest standards."

Award-winning drinks writer Dave Broom said: "I've watched the growth of the new English whisky sector with growing fascination and this move will 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 important, it exists to protect consumers."

19 May 2022 - Bethany Whymark