The values that make us who we are:

quite different to the rest.


Have you ever opened a lovely looking bottle of spirit, only to taste it and suspect that it was...well, lacking? Us too. That’s why we say we’re not ‘design led’ - we’re taste led. Our goal is to highlight what’s in your bottle, not what’s on it: it has to look great but taste better. We don’t do 'subtle flavours', we do rich, brilliant flavours. We throw the kitchen sink at crafting sensory adventures into every sip, from the first scent of aroma to the long, lingering mouthfeel. That’s why our ‘Taste First’ guarantee is on the top of every simple but elegantly designed bottle in the English Spirit range: our promise that we will always place the joy of flavour at the heart of everything we do.

“Eating and drinking is such an essential part of life:

so we may as well strive to maximise it as much as we can.”

- Dr John Walters

“Eating and drinking is such an essential part of life: so we may as well strive to maximise it as much as we can.”

- Dr John Walters


Distilling at heart is boiling something down to its essence to reveal something wonderful. We want to take great ingredients out of the ground and make something spectacular from them: highlighting interesting taste elements, without defects. Sometimes these ingredients are from around the corner and local to us, sometimes from further afield across the land. We will leave no stone unturned to source the best ingredients from all over England, to show off the flavours of our country’s seasonality at it’s best.

“Why are we called English Spirit, not Essex Spirit or Cornish Spirit? Because we want to draw on the whole of England, and all the great things it produces.”

- Dr John Walters


There are so many ways to enjoy truly fine spirits: you don’t need to be an expert to appreciate. We design each of our spirits to be sipped and savoured neat, like a fine whisky, with the addition of a mixer being optional but equally delicious. We encourage you to think differently about consuming spirits: this is alcohol not just for getting merry, but for an epicurean adventure. We’ve used every ounce of biochemical expertise to grab flavour molecules that are only soluble in alcohol: familiar flavours presented in an entirely new way. Suitable for cocktails, paired with food, and even used as cooking ingredients: these are spirits as you’ve never tasted them before.

“I see us as the world’s only Michelin Star distillery equivalent.”

- Dr John Walters


We’re committed to making the best spirits we possibly can by setting a new quality standard. We believe that spirits, made properly, are a new form of fine cuisine, although we also believe that you can always tell an adequate cook from a great chef, with one of the key differences being attention to detail. That’s why we pay an extraordinary amount of attention to every aspect of our spirit: to grab with precision the flavours we want from our alcohol vapours, while leaving the defects in the still. One of our simple but firm beliefs is that a good spirit shouldn’t burn when drunk neat. This is as challenging as it is rare: producing spirits to this standard is definitely not the easy route, but a necessary commitment to making the best.

“Our aim is to make the best spirits money can buy, at a price people can afford.” - Dr John Walters


We believe that to make spirits that taste truly sublime, you have to have complete control over the entire production process: which includes distilling your own alcohol. This allows us to impart delicate flavours into our spirit, while making the precise cuts to keep it free of fiery defects. It takes more time, more money and more skill to do it this way, but entirely necessary if you want to make the very best. You could buy in your base alcohol from elsewhere and re-distil: but what’s the point of using the finest botanical ingredients in your spirit if it burns when you drink it? To borrow a saying: you can’t polish a bad spirit, but you can roll it in glitter. That’s why we go the extra mile, and truly mean no shortcuts or compromises.

“Great works of art aren’t painted onto printer paper, great pizzas aren’t made with bases from the supermarket freezer, and great spirits aren’t made with poor alcohol.” - James


We’re proud of our English heritage, and so our aim is to distil the very best of England into a bottle, with a story in every sip. We love what we do, and we love working with the best. That’s why we work with a wide variety of suppliers and contract clients to produce ever more innovative and premium spirits & liqueurs. From local family owned businesses to major household names: we wouldn’t be here without them. Leading fruit and vegetable growers, preserve makers, breweries, vineyards, cideries, tea blenders, and even explorers. The best in their respective fields, we are privileged to work closely with them in our mission to be the best in ours.

"We're not the sort of brand that would open a ready meal when we get home." - Dr John Walters


In the last ten years, distilling and spirits have come a long way: no longer the domain of big brands producing on a large scale, but open to reinvention from all angles. We value tradition and heritage, but not when it stands in the way of progress and innovation. Every single one of our spirits is crafted using techniques that we have invented and tailored specifically for the purpose of creating better and better spirits: you won’t find a distilling style like this anywhere else. We were the first in the UK to distil rum, sambuca and baijiu. True to our master distiller’s background as a biochemist, we simply won’t settle: whether developing new products or tweaking existing ones, we are committed to experiment, tweaking and improving on the past to create the best products we possibly can. 

"“Insight into the past, with the full breadth of understanding of now, for the continuous enjoyment of the future.” - Dr John Walters



Despite our big aims and world-beating successes, we are proud to stay true to ourselves every step of the way. We don’t have a corporate bankroll, we don’t have investors, we don’t work with agencies. If this business was all about money, then we’d stick to just making gin; we’d spend our budget on the design of the bottle, rather than what goes inside it; we’d settle for ‘good enough’. We believe the beauty of this adventure lies in doing things ourselves, which includes everything from distilling our own spirits to skipping the supermarket and selling directly to our customers, and all the bits in between. Sometimes that may mean the journey is a little bit longer, but that’s where the real fun lies; we learn as we go and continuously improve, while loving what we do more with each passing day.

“If you drive a car you should know what goes on under the bonnet.” - Dr John’s father


Making the very best spirits & liqueurs means going boldly where none have gone before, and doing what said couldn’t be done. They said you can’t make good rum in the UK. They said making a wide range of products isn’t commercially viable. They said dark spirits like rum, malt and brandy must be aged for years to make them acceptable. They said the base spirit doesn’t make a difference to the gin. They said there’s nothing to be done about the burn when you drink spirits neat. And yet here we are, having been around longer than most and with plans to outlast the rest: then again, we never were very good at doing what we’re told. We are truly passionate about what we do and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for the world of fine spirits.

“It’s about harnessing a dream, and bringing new things into reality. It’s easy to copy something else, but difficult to make an entirely new route altogether.” - Dr John Walters

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Great Yeldham Hall

Essex, CO9 4PT

Tel. 01787 237896

Treguddick Manor

Cornwall, PL15 7JN

Tel. 01566 788310

© 2020 JW Distillers Ltd

Registered in England No. 09414942, VAT Number 206752614

Registered Office: Great Yeldham Hall, Church Road, Great Yeldham, Halstead, Essex, CO9 4PT

Please drink responsibly.