HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE COOPER KING BLOG
We thought we'd start off with an introduction to the English whisky scene, as some of you are unaware of the slow but steady growth the industry has experienced since James Nelstrop started selling single malt whisky from St George’s Distillery back in 2006.
ENGLAND CURRENTLY HAS 14 WHISKY DISTILLERIES
There are currently 14 whisky distilleries spread across England in various stages of development*, but only 3 have single malt whisky available for sale. Others are laying down casks to mature, and a few are soon to enter production, such as our friends at Dartmoor Whisky Distillery and ourselves, Cooper King Distillery. Whisky production is a slow process. In England, new-make spirit (essentially un-aged whisky) must be matured for a minimum of three years in wooden casks (no bigger than 700 litres) before it can legally be called ‘whisky’.
14 distilleries may sound like a lot, but bear in mind Scotland has squeezed in around 115 active distilleries with many recent additions, despite being two thirds the size of England and having only 10% of the population. There's plenty of space for us all here in old Blighty!
THE FUTURE OF ENGLISH WHISKY
We at Cooper King Distillery think it's a very exciting time to be involved in the English whisky industry, which is considered by many to be in its infancy. Over the next 4 or 5 years we will see an incredible array of English single malt and single grain whiskies entering the market, albeit in very limited volumes when compared to our Scottish neighbours.
The English whisky distillers have seized an amazing opportunity to explore and experiment, and to take advantage of our position as New World Whisky producers. Across the country English whisky distilleries are trialling a range of barley types, yeasts strains and fermentation periods. There is variation in the type and size of cask used for maturation, and in the type of still being used to produce the new-make spirit. Ours is hopefully coming from Tasmania, while others have sourced theirs from countries including France, Scotland and Germany.
Keep an eye out for first and new releases from the distilleries on the English Whisky Map as we continue to bring some exceptional whiskies to the table over the coming years.
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For the purpose of clarity we have not included blended whiskies or independent bottlers within this blog post. Feel free to let us know of any new distilleries we may have missed, or of any corrections and clarifications using our contact page.
* Technically, Hicks and Healey is not a distillery, but the name given to the partnership between St Austell Brewery and Healey’s Cyder Farm. They are included here as they have produced, and are still producing, some very tasty single malt whiskey (with an intentional ‘e’ used in the spelling of whisky).