our brand story
WE BELIEVE THAT LIFE IS FOR LIVING AND SHOULD ALWAYS BE ENJOYED; A WELL-MADE SPIRIT CAN BE ONE OF LIFE’S GREATEST PLEASURES.
WHERE IT STARTED
Like all good stories, ours started with discovering a loophole in an archaic law, that prevented craft distilling. That's where Dr John Walters comes in: a former Oxford scholar, with a background in biochemistry and the pharmaceutical industry, who was looking for a new challenge.
After listening to a Radio 4 feature about French eau de vie, Dr John was left inspired to try his hand at distilling and set about defiantly setting up a four litre still for personal use, which launched him onto a new epicurean adventure
TESTING THE THEORY
Using his ingenuity, he picked some grapes off the side of his house, which he set about fermenting and distilling to produce his first spirit, a brandy, which was surprisingly much tastier than a nice bottle he had recently bought.
Encouraged by the results, he tried his hand at more spirits, being continuously delighted with the delicious outcome, soon enough he had an epiphany. Imagine if more spirits could be enjoyed neat, tasting this superb without the burning sensation?
THE STARTING BLOCKS
In John’s opinion everyone deserves the best, and so he set out to share his pioneering spirits with the world. So in 2011, English Spirit was officially born, when John opened Cambridgeshire’s first distillery at the Old Salt Depot in Dullingham. At the time there were only four small-batch distilleries within the UK, with the rules and regulations being a bit more relaxed: the interview with the HMRC officer to obtain the necessary licences to commercially produce was held in the car park, sat on deckchairs!
Five years later, English Spirit Distillery expanded to a new site at Great Yeldham in Essex, adding twenty 200 litre stills to the operation, designed and custom built to John’s specifications. By then the variety of spirits distilled included the UK’s first rum, as well as vodka, gin, single malt, and sambuca. To which John applied his simple quality standard that a good spirit shouldn’t burn if you drink it neat.
10 YEARS OF ENGLISH SPIRIT
Since that first unaged brandy, John has accumulated more than 30,000 hours of distilling experience; ‘turning’ the stills an average of 10 times a day, 5 days a week, for over a decade. Within that time his efforts have been well received and our distillery has produced an extraordinary number of awards from prestigious international competitions, including the World’s Best Rum, Vodka, Gin and many more. Even so, many of the processes are still performed by hand; ensuring the quality of the product remains unrivalled.
Nestled in the grounds of a historic manor house in Cornwall is the newest addition to the English Spirit family. Treguddick is the location of our brand new state-of-the-art distillery and visitors centre, featuring our geodesic biomes that house over 70 species of botanicals and ingredients. Our beautiful bar is stocked with over 40 different spirits and liqueurs, and Treguddick is also home to English Spirits very first restaurant, serving an ever-changing menu of seasonal dishes created using our products.
Photo taken by: Steve Brownhill
THE NEXT ADVENTURE
New for 2022 we are proud to launch the next chapter of our exciting ventures here at English Spirit. Having spent more than a decade creating incredible award-winning spirits and liqueurs, Dr Johns passion for all things epicurean has led us into the world of condiments and preserves. All of which will combine mouth-watering flavours never seen before. The first of these delights is our brand new Boozy Ketchup. Developed at Treguddick and featuring our very own English Spiced rum, it is the first of a long line of boozy delights that will fill your shelves and pantries for years to come.