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Nyetimber to buy the Lakes Distillery

The Lakes Distillery could soon be in the ownership of English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber after it agreed a deal in principle to acquire the distillery.
The deal, which would see Nyetimber acquire the entire business, has been valued at £46.1 million. 
Founded in 2012 by Paul Currie and Nigel Mills, the Lakes Distillery was one of England’s first modern single malt whisky producers. It has become globally renowned for its sherry-led style, pioneered by former Macallan whisky maker Dhavall Gandhi during his tenure as the Lakes’ master whisky maker. 
The distillery is also a founding member of the English Whisky Guild, which is pushing for legal protection for the category of single malt English whisky. 
In 2022, it claimed the title of World’s Best Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards for its Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 4. Last year, it named Sarah Burgess, another Macallan alum, as its new master whisky maker following Gandhi’s departure from the company.
In 2021, the Lakes completed a major renovation project which included a significant expansion to its whisky production capacity — from around 130,000 litres per annum to a maximum capacity of 375,000 litres. The £3 million project also included upgrades to its visitor experience, the creation of a state-of-the-art blending lab, and the construction of new whisky warehousing facilities. A further multi-million-pound funding round was held in 2022.
Nyetimber said it felt it was the “right partner” to support the Lakes Distillery’s growth ambitions, both nationally and internationally. The Lakes’ board of directors intends to recommend that its shareholders vote in favour of the deal.
The Lakes CEO James Pennefather, who joined the company in 2023, said the acquisition would help the company in its journey to become “a luxury international spirits brand”, explaining that the deal would encompass additional funding of £10 million over the next three years to further increase the distillery’s production capacity and to grow its footprint in international markets.
“The Lakes board is enthusiastic about its ambitious new ten year plan to achieve a 1 per cent share of the global luxury dark spirits market by 2030,” Pennefather said. “The offer by Nyetimber offers the prospect of an owner with the same shared strategic vision and, crucially, certainty of funding. By joining the Nyetimber family of companies, the Lakes will benefit, in particular in terms of quality of production, brand marketing and routes to market.”
Eric Heerema, CEO of Nyetimber, said: “We are excited by the prospect of acquiring the Lakes, the leading English distiller of premium quality single malt whisky, gin, and vodka. We believe that this potential acquisition represents an opportunity for us to expand our capabilities, drive exciting new growth and support the Lakes in delivering on its ambition to be a globally recognised spirits brand.”

4 April 2024 - Bethany Brown