Wooler community turns out in force to watch arrival of whisky distillery stills

A key moment in the creation of a whisky distillery in Wooler has been celebrated by the local community.

Thursday, 17th March 2022, 3:55 pm
Updated Friday, 18th March 2022, 9:11 am

Two giant copper stills, each weighing three tonnes, were delivered to the Ad Gefrin visitor experience and distillery site on South Road today (Thursday).

Over 100 school children and local people gathered to watch their arrival on a pair of 44-tonne transporters.

The stills have been manufactured by Forsyths of Rothes, Moray, and have taken over 1,200-man hours to build.

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A parade along Wooler High Street.

They were escorted to their final destination by a vintage Redpaths haulage wagon, resplendent in its restored heritage bodywork and a vintage Fergusons bean truck.

On completing their 230-mile journey to Wooler, the stills were welcomed with music played by renowned Northumbrian piper Anthony Robb, and his wife Heather.

Students from Wooler First School, Glendale Middle School and Berwick Academy were among those watching on.

Ad Gefrin co-founder Eileen Ferguson said: “Today has been about the community, and we were absolutely delighted that so many people have joined us to mark this important milestone, both for Ad Gefrin and for Wooler.

The giant copper stills arrive at the whisky distillery site.

"For us as a family, it was also very exciting that our daughter Naomi, who was born in Wooler, took the wheel of one of the transporter vehicles on its journey down from Morayshire.

“Now the stills have been delivered, the installation process will begin and will last roughly four months with the aim to start distilling this autumn.

"The Visitor Experience and Distillery will open in the autumn and from 2025 onwards, Ad Gefrin’s Single Malt Whisky will mature.”

As well as creating the first Northumbrian Single Malt Whisky, the £10.4 million development will include a world class cultural visitor experience celebrating Northumbria’s golden age.

The inspiration comes from the 7th Royal Summer Palace of the Anglo-Saxon Kings and Queens discovered at Yeavering – only four miles from the town.

Discovered in the 1950s this became one of the 20th century’s most remarkable archaeological finds – revealing as it did a unique wooden grandstand and Great Hall as well as Royal Quarters.

The Ad Gefrin Visitor Experience will recreate the Great Hall and also include a bistro, bar, shop and a programme of tailored tours and tastings.

Pictures and video by Jane Coltman.

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