Spirits soar as construction work begins on £10.5million whisky distillery and visitor centre in Northumberland

Building work on a new whisky distillery and visitor centre in north Northumberland is underway.

By Ian Smith
Friday, 19th February 2021, 12:05 am

The team behind the Ad Gefrin project in Wooler are also celebrating final approval for the £10.5million project which aims to deliver a major boost to the local economy.

Eileen Ferguson, whose family is spearheading the scheme, said: “We have never doubted that we could fulfil our vision to create a world class visitor destination in this beautiful county.

"The people of Glendale haven’t doubted either. Throughout everything we have continued to be overwhelmed by everyone’s good wishes – even when it looked on the surface as if progress was slow to the point of coming to a halt. We can’t thank everyone enough.

Architect Richard Elphick with Ad Gefrin developers Chris, Eileen and Alan Ferguson.

“We really want to thank all those who have worked so hard to get us to this point. We especially wish to thank Northumberland County Council and their officers who have given so much support to the development of Ad Gefrin.

"We hope this news lifts everyone’s spirits and means we can all start 2021 on a real high looking forward to much better times ahead.”

It is hoped the distillery and visitor centre will eventually create up to 50 full-time new jobs.

The aim is to showcase Northumberland’s unique Anglo-Saxon heritage and celebrate its ancient hospitality alongside the very best arts, crafts and produce the county offers today, as well as re-awakening a 200-year-old local tradition for whisky distilling.

The start of work by North East contractors Brims Construction has extra significance as it becomes the first project in the Borderlands Programme for Northumberland to break ground.

Ad Gefrin has received £3m from the Borderlands Growth Deal which is funded through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and has also received £1m from the North East Rural Growth Network – Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF) through the North East LEP, and £600,000 through Northumberland County Council.

The remainder of the funding is from private backers.

Luke Hall MP, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, said: “It’s fantastic that work can now begin on a new multi-million pound visitor centre and distillery at Ad Gefrin – a hugely important site showcasing Northumberland’s heritage.”

“The new centre and distillery, backed by £3 million investment from the Borderlands Growth Deal, will provide a magnet for tourism as well as an important export boost for the region.”

“We’re levelling up across the country by investing in projects which create jobs and drive economic growth, making our regions great places to live, work and visit.”

Northumberland County Council leader, Glen Sanderson, added: “This is extremely welcome news which will bring more jobs, investment and visitors to this beautiful part of our county.”

Helen Golightly, chief executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Ad Gefrin is one of the most important economic and tourist developments for many years in north Northumberland and will undoubtedly boost economic activity.

“I am delighted that funds from our Local Growth Fund have been invested by the Rural Growth Network into a second iconic development on the fringe of Northumberland National Park, complementing The Sill, on Hadrian’s Wall.”

Ad Gefrin is expected to open in late 2022.

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