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East London distillery to barrel first rye

New independent distillery the East London Liquor Company (ELLC) is preparing to fill its first casks of rye whisky, which will be matured on-site.

Tom Hills is preparing to fill the East London Liquor Company’s first rye barrels

The London rye will be aged in 50 to 60-litre virgin American oak casks, joining the distillery’s three gins and one vodka in its portfolio. The company also imports a variety of rum bottlings from Demerara Distillers in Guyana.

Founded by Barworks’ Alex Wolpert last year, ELLC, based in East London’s Bow Wharf, features two stills – one for its vodka and gin, and another for its whisky.

The whisky will be matured on-site in the distillery’s cellar, while some stocks will be moved to warehouses in Sailsbury once capacity is full.

Master distiller Tom Hills uses fermented mash from craft brewery Crate in Hackney Wick, and intends to bottle the rye without any additional colouring or flavouring.

“This is a take on the style of whisky that we are big fans of,” said Hills. “We cannot compete with the big Scotch distillers in terms of volume, but we can experiment.

“We want the whisky to become our main thing, but we want to get the ageing process right first and get some interesting barrels.”

Hills added that he will create some “very limited edition” bottlings and also experiment with yeast.

Visitors are able to view the distillation process from behind a glass panel in ELLC’s cocktail bar, which has been open for six months.

The distillery, which began distilling in July last year and features an automated bottling line, produces three different gins, a vodka and now whisky. ELLC is considering producing vermouths, a summer cup and another gin in the next two years.

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