Northumberland whisky distillery reveals the farmers who will be supplying its barley

A Wooler whisky distillery will be getting its inaugural barley from farms within a 10-mile radius.

Thursday, 31st March 2022, 12:52 pm

Four farmers have been selected to grow in the region of 400 tonnes of Diablo, the highest yielding spring barley on the market, for the Ad Gefrin distillery.

They are Tom Jackson, growing at Northfield Farm, Lowick, George Farr of Pallinsburn, David Warcup of Letham Hill Farm, Etal and Cameron Shell of Brandon near Powburn.

The barley will be stored locally and malted in Berwick by Simpsons Malt, before delivery to Wooler.

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Barley farmers for Ad Gefrin's whisky, pictured clockwise from top left, David Warcup of Letham Hill Farm, Etal; George Farr of Pallinsburn; Cameron Shell of Brandon; and Tom Jackson, growing at Northfield Farm, Lowick.

Ben Murphy, head distiller at Ad Gefrin, said: “It is so exciting to be able to produce a malt which will be grown by local farmers, and malted by Simpsons Malt, who are literally just up the road. The relationship with growers will be collaborative, as the barley is grown and malted specifically for us.”

Water will be drawn from a borehole on site which will deliver waters from a depth of 200m directly from the Cheviot Hills.

Ben added: “A whisky is of course not just about the barley; the barley is just one of many factors.

"There is the water, and the years required for maturing, the wood chosen for the casks, and of course the careful handling by the stills’ team.

Tom Jackson of Northfield Farm, Lowick.

"Ad Gefrin will be a Northumbrian whisky, through and through, grown, distilled and nurtured in the shadow of the Cheviot Hills.”

The relationship with Simpsons Malt is also vital to Ad Gefrin in connecting the grower to distiller, showcasing supply chain traceability from seed to spirit.

“It is really exciting to be part of such a major milestone for Wooler and north Northumberland.” enthused grower Tom Jackson.

“Normally our malting barley goes to Scotland, so we are pleased and proud to be part of this new enterprise to produce a genuinely local product.”

George Farr of Pallinsburn.

Tim McCreath, Simpsons Malt managing director, added: “It has been fantastic to work so closely with Ben as the exciting developments at Ad Gefrin have progressed over the past 12 months.

“The distillery’s high-quality Northumbrian spring barley has been sown at farms less than 10 miles from the site and we’re now counting down the days until harvest.”

The £10.4m development, which includes a visitor centre, aims to open in the autumn.

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David Warcup of Letham Hill Farm, Etal.
Cameron Shell of Brandon.