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English Whisky Guild officially launches

The volume of spirit produced by England’s distilleries is predicted to soar by 189% from 2019 to 2023, according to the newly-formed English Whisky Guild.

English Whisky Guild
The Guild is made up of 15 distillers, including Bimber Distilling and Cotswolds Distillery

The English Whisky Guild (EWG) has publicly launched this week, with an aim to showcase and protect whisky crafted in England.

The first step of the EWG has been to submit a geographical indicator (GI) to the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

A legal definition for whisky would establish protection for the English whisky industry. The GI also contains proposals to bolster and support other connected UK industries, for example, grains used must be both grown and malted in the UK.

EWG’s inaugural chairman Andrew Nelstrop, of the English Whisky Company, commented: “English whisky is synonymous with independence, innovation and creativity.

“The formation of the Guild and the submission of the GI application supports these shared values whilst also establishing production standards that ensure that any whisky labelled as ‘English’ is of the highest quality.

“It also marks a significant step in the long-term development and promotion of English whisky. We would welcome other English distilleries joining us at this exciting time.”

The whisky category has a projected increase in value from US$60 billion to US$108bn within the next decade, according to the EWG, and the number of bottles sold by English distilleries is predicted to soar by 418% from 2019 to 2023.

As of 2022, there are 40 whisky distilleries across England, with the oldest having been distilling for 20 years.

David Broom, drinks writer, noted: “This is a significant and hugely welcome step in the evolution of English whisky. I’ve watched the growth of the new English whisky sector with growing fascination and this move will ensure that the open-minded and varied manner in which England’s distillers are approaching whisky will be safeguarded.

“Having an agreed set of production standards is vital for any whisky producing nation as it helps to guide distillers while not restricting innovation. More importantly, it exists to protect consumers.”

The EWG will also look to support a community of producers, build an awareness of the category and create real and virtual spaces where English whisky can be ‘discovered’.

For the April 2022 issue of The Spirits Business magazine, we spoke to distillers to uncover more about the process of establishing a definition for the spirit.

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