Ad Gefrin director hails 'extraordinary' few weeks for £16m whisky distillery and museum in Wooler

Ad Gefrin director Chris Ferguson has reflected on an ‘extraordinary’ first few weeks for a new whisky distillery and visitor centre in Wooler.
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The £16m attraction, which includes an Anglo-Saxon museum, aims to attract up to 35,000 visitors in its first year alone.

Chris Ferguson, director of visitor experience, said: “It’s been an extraordinary few weeks!

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"We were delighted to be able to welcome local residents into Ad Gefrin in the four days before opening to the public; and also host some special events for our Corenkyn members.

Ad Gefrin in Wooler. Picture: Sally Ann NormanAd Gefrin in Wooler. Picture: Sally Ann Norman
Ad Gefrin in Wooler. Picture: Sally Ann Norman

“Both residents and members have been unfailing in their support and are extremely important to us. It was lovely to be able to say thank you in a small way.

He continued: "The overwhelming response from everyone has been one of delight. I think it is fair to say, everyone has been wowed by the building, particularly the atrium finished by local craftsman, Albert Fairnington.

"Of course, there have been some glitches, we couldn’t expect anything else from such a new building, but despite this, the majority of visitors have been totally understanding and we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback.

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"Our staff have been consistently excellent – they truly stand out, and really do turn every visit into an outstanding one. We couldn’t be prouder.”

The opening of Ad Gefrin.The opening of Ad Gefrin.
The opening of Ad Gefrin.

The Ad Gefrin Museum brings to life the largely untold story of the 7th century Anglo Saxon kings and queens of Northumbria, whose Royal Palace at Yeavering, just outside Wooler, once attracted visitors from all over Europe, Scandinavia and as far away as North Africa.

The museum offers visitors an immersive experience and displays of rare and never before seen Anglo-Saxon treasures from the British Museum and other collections, many returning home to the North East for the first time in over 30 years.

Co-founders Alan and Eileen Ferguson, whose family owned the prominent South Road site on which it is built, came up with the plan.

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It has created 60 jobs, with nearly half the positions filled by people living in Wooler.

Ad Gefrin will also be home to the first Northumbrian English Single Malt Whisky, using barley and water from the Cheviot Hills. It is expected to mature from 2025 onwards.

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