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Lakes Distillery to expand whisky production

Cumbria’s The Lakes Distillery is embarking on a large-scale expansion project as it seeks to establish its whisky as a “global luxury brand”.

The Lakes Distillery will install eight new washbacks to increase whisky production

The UK distillery, which started production in 2014, currently distils 230,000 litres of pure alcohol per annum but will increase capacity to 400,000-450,000 litres with the installation of eight new washbacks.

“Right now we are at full capacity and our bottleneck is fermentation,” said chief whisky maker Dhavall Gandhi. “We have a very long fermentation time – 96 hours – and the only way to ensure we maintain the quality and the character of our spirit is to increase our washback capacity.”

The distillery operates two whisky stills and a gin still, and has shifted its focus towards Sherry-cask maturation under the guidance of Gandhi.

In May last year, Lakes unveiled its inaugural single malt whisky range, which Gandhi described as an integral part of the group’s vision to become a “long-term brand”.

Said to showcase the firm’s “distinctive Sherry-led, multi-oak maturation philosophy”, the four-bottle limited edition range will be released over the next four years.

On the inception of the company, Gandhi said: “One of the things we discussed at length was: do we want to be a small producer, or do we want to become a global brand?

“We decided we do not want to be craft – we do not want to come in one morning and say ‘let’s do rye whisky’ or ‘let’s do chocolate malt’. We want to constantly improve our signature spirit and create a character that can be identified as Lakes.”

In September last year, Lakes confirmed it was considering launching its shares on the London Stock Exchange to raise £15 million (US$19.5m).

“To date we have raised substantial sums of money from high net worth individuals, grants and loans and we will continue to fund the business in this way,” said Nigel Mills, chief executive of The Lakes Distillery.

“An IPO gives us an alternative way to raise larger sums of money to continue building the business for the long term. We are viewing IPO as one of several options for funding the distillery going forward.”

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