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dr John walters

MASTER DISTILLER

A former biochemist, Dr John decided to turn his talents to making spirits after deciding that other commercially available options simply were not up to scratch. He is the founder of English Spirit, and oversees the creation of all our products, both new and existing. John's ethos of 'if you want something done right then do it yourself' applies to nearly every aspect of our operation.

Dr John is one of the UK’s most experienced distillers. Turning an average of ten stills a day, and distilling the UK’s widest variety of spirits from scratch. His creations have won the most prestigious awards from the leading international spirit competitions, and he has consistently led innovation in the spirits market. He was first in the UK to distil rum, sambuca and baijiu; he has worked with some of the world’s finest ingredients; and has developed world leading techniques for extracting flavours and accelerating ageing processes. In other words, he has truly earned the title of Master Distiller.

In his spare time, John likes to continue his pursuit of personal development by learning new skills from Youtube videos. Next up on his list is learning how to crochet.

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

WHATEVER HE FANCIES ON THE DAY

meet the team

A SHIP IS ONLY AS GOOD AS IT'S CREW AND A DISTILLERY IS ONLY AS GOOD AS IT'S TEAM

It's no secret that most of our team came to work for us after trying one of our spirits and undergoing something of an epiphany. Everyone that works at English Spirit is united in their passion for making delicious spirits and sharing them with others; read on to find out more about us.

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JILL LAWRENCE

SALES DIRECTOR

Jill ensures that our fine spirits & liqueurs are spread across the land: not only of our English Spirit range, but also via managing the accounts of our contract partners. Matriarch to everyone, Jill also supports the team in other ways, including conducting distillery tours and ensuring a steady supply of biscuits. 

Jill loves gardening, taking her dog Bob for walks, and can usually be found feeding the menagerie of creatures at Great Yeldham Hall, including chickens, horses and occasionally other staff members.

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

ENGLISH SAMBUCA

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KURT READ

HEAD OF OPERATIONS

Kurt heads up the South Western arm of our team: his main role is to oversee the day to day running of our lovely new distillery and visitors centre at Treguddick in Cornwall. Kurt also supervises all the construction and maintenance within the grounds. 

 

Curious by nature, Kurt enjoys learning and turning his hand to any craft: whether it be new design software for our machinery, pizza making, or horticulture. At weekends, he can usually be found making improvements to his home, often to make room for his family’s menagerie of pets.

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

ENGLISH SPICED RUM

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WENDY ELLIS

OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

Wendy runs the office with a rod of iron and makes sure everything is where it should be - including staff members.

She’s a very busy lady and claims she doesn’t have time for hobbies but she does enjoy walking her dog and the occasional visit to the gym.

She has a love for the finer things in life: which is handy as she’s working in the home of the world's best spirits!

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

OLD SALT RUM

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SAM POTTER

CREATIVE EXECUTIVE

Sam has a Graphic Design degree plus 10 years experience as a senior designer and leads our visionary direction as our Creative Executive. Having been responsible for the interior design of Treguddick, Sam has shaped the direction of the English Spirit brand. She created all the brand assets and designs all the new product labels, packaging and menus. Sam also captures all our photography and designs the website.

Sam moved to Cornwall and fell in love with the outdoors lifestyle, spending her time paddle boarding, wake boarding and having BBQ’s on the beach!

 

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

RASPBERRY & BAY SHRUB

distillery team

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GARRY BOWMAN

DISTILLERY OPERATIONS MANAGER

Garry is our Process King who ensures the distillery runs smoothly on a day to day basis.  He seems to have acquired his rucksack from Mary Poppins as he has a tool kit for every occasion, as well as a large selection of snacks contained within it.

A keen supporter of Ipswich Town FC, Garry has in the past road raced motorcycles but now enjoys a gentler pace of life relaxing on his PS4, listening to music and playing pool as part of a league team.

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

ENGLISH SPICED RUM

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DAN RICHARDSON

PRODUCTION MANAGER

Dan works closely with Dr John to oversee the day-to-day running of the distillery at Great Yeldham Hall. He ensures that everything and everyone is in the right place to make sure our orders are finished on time to our Taste First quality standard. 

 

Dan enjoys cruising around the East Anglian countryside in his brand new electric car - a Vauxhall Mokka. He officially has the biggest feet of anyone in the distillery team, at an impressive size 14.

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

CARAMEL RUM LIQUEUR

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NATALIE GUINIVAN

PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR

Natalie is a key member in the production team at Great Yeldham, from preparing ingredients to bottling and labelling.

 

Natalie loves the coast, the beach and the sea: especially Norfolk. She likes to think of herself as a part time mermaid: she's been known to drink like a fish. Otherwise Natalie swears that she's very sensible and never gets into any trouble. She's also been honoured with the accolade 'best hand labeller there is' by her team.

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

RHUBARB GIN LIQUEUR

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ANDY McCALL

DISTILLERY OPERATIVE

Andy is a long standing team member at Great Yeldham, having helped produce an array of different types of spirits and liqueurs. Andy helps with the production, from chopping ingredients used to overseeing bottling and labelling.

 

 Andy is very good at giving hugs. He is very much into gaming, as well as creative interests such as art, film and animation. He has an exceptionally large bookcase, despite not reading much.

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

APPLE BRANDY

hospitality team

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TOM ELSON-KNIGHT

EXECUTIVE CHEF

Tom has been working closely with the Treguddick team since June 2022 and will be the driving force behind the restaurant when he joins us full-time in September.

 

Tom, who was a MasterChef finalist in 2019, has a wealth of experience from running pop-up events around the UK to menu consultation.

 

Tom has already begun to design innovative dishes that combine our high-quality spirits with the best ingredients available in the South West.

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

ENGLISH SPICED RUM

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JOE KINSEY 

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

Joe joined Treguddick in July 2022 as our research and development specialist. Joe works closely with John and Tom to keep Treguddick and English Spirit at the forefront of innovation. Joe has a strong background in the hospitality trade with 10 years of experience and is a self-proclaimed perfectionist. Working with and enjoying a range of spirits himself Joe became interested in how they were made which led him to Treguddick.

 

Outside of work Joe can be found participating in his other passion as an on-call firefighter for Tavistock Fire Station. 

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

ENGLISH TOFFEE VODKA

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ESTHER STANSBURY

TEAM LEADER

Esther is based at Treguddick and helps to manage the team of Team Members in the running of the tours, cafe and shop. Esther can also be seen on shows and markets selling the beautiful range of products that we make.

Esther grew up in Sidmouth by the sea. She now lives near Tavistock where she bought an old house with her husband which they have been renovating themselves. Esther has 2 boys, Jack & Fred who keep her very busy! Esther loves walking on Dartmoor and spending time socialising with friends and family.

FAVOURITE SPIRIT

DR J'S GIN

SPLODGE

HEAD OF PEST CONTROL

An unsung hero and dedicated hard worker, Splodge plays a vital role in ensuring that ​our Great Yeldham site remains a pest free zone. He also occasionally shadows sales meetings to bring a fresh perspective to any scenario.

OUR SPIRIT AMBASSADOR TEAM

In addition to our staff based across our two sites, we also have a lovely and dedicated field sales team of Spirit Ambassadors, or Spirit Guides. Like the rest of the English Spirit team, they love our spirits so much that they really are passionate about sharing our collection with spirit enthusiasts everywhere; you can find them spreading English Spirit across the land at a number of events and establishments. They will only be too happy to talk to you about anything you want to know.