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English and Welsh whisky trail launched

A new Welsh and English whisky trail has been launched to recognise the resurgence in distilling south of the Scottish border.

From the depths of Cornwall to the hills of North Wales and on to the Lake District, England and Wales now have at least 19 distilleries known to be producing whisky, according to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

It has mapped English and Welsh whisky distillers and also collected information on which distilleries are open to visitors.

Launch of the new trail comes amid a boom for craft spirits production in the UK and as Scotland reports record-breaking numbers of whisky tourists.

english whisky trail

Where the English and Welsh whisky distilleries are located… Credit: WSTA.

England and Wales, unlike Scotland or Ireland, are not renowned for whisky production. But at least four distilleries were operating in the late 19th century, according to the WSTA, including: Lea Valley Distillery in London, Bristol Distillery and Bank Hall and Vauxhall distilleries, both in Liverpool.

New-make spirit must be matured in wooden casks for a minimum three years before it can be called whisky, according to EU rules that are based on Scotch whisky laws.

Miles Beale, chief executive of WSTA, said, ‘Britain now boasts 315 distilleries – more than double the number that were operating across the country five years ago.

‘We can safely say the growing number of distilleries is no flash in the pan, as we have seen a wave of exciting new Welsh and English distillery projects.’

However, English and Welsh whisky will have to work hard to rival the reputation of those north of the Scottish border.

Last month, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) reported a record 1.9 million tourist visits to Scotch distilleries in 2017, up 11.4% on 2016.

Most visitors came from Germany and the US, as well as from India, China and Japan, said the SWA after surveying its members.

Visitors collectively spent £60.9 million at Scotch whisky distillery visitor centres last year, up by 15.6% versus 2016, the SWA said.

See Decanter’s UK wine travel guides

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