Plans put in place to ensure Northumberland whisky hits the spot

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The new Ad Gefrin whisky distillery in Wooler could be producing its first bottles of single malt in four years’ time.

That’s if all goes to plan and the team behind the project are confident the product is the best if can be.

"It will be summer 2025 at the earliest,” said head distiller Ben Murphy. “But that’s only if the product is right.

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"I know people want to see and taste it as soon as possible but it’s crucial that it makes the right first impression.”

Ben Murphy, Ad Gefrin's head distiller.Ben Murphy, Ad Gefrin's head distiller.
Ben Murphy, Ad Gefrin's head distiller.

Until then, lots of preparations are going on behind the scenes.

Its stills are being manuactured by Speyside-based Forsyths, its water will come from a borehole in the Cheviots and they are developing a partnership with Berwick-based Simpsons Malt.

"We happen to be located in one of the best barley growing areas of the country,” said Ben. “The Tweed Valley is renowned for its farming heritage so we’re hoping to work with Simpsons Malt in producing most if not all of the malt we need. Obviously that’s a very short distance which is great.”

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Ben is currently exploring the various yeasts and heritage barleys, such as those that might have been around in the Anglo-Saxon times that inspired the vision for Ad Gefrin.

"We’re very open-minded about it,” said Ben.

Northumberland has a history of distilling, especially in Coquetdale, and, of course, because it’s so close to Scotland but we’re also taking inspiration from Ireland and Scandinavia. Whatever we choose will involve a degree of fine tuning so it hits just the right spot.”

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