Ambitious plans to develop a distillery near Shipston-on-Stour have been boosted by a grant from the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network.
The cash will allow the Cotswold Distillery, based at Stourton, to buy more fermentation tanks to be used in the production of its single malt whisky which will go on sale in 2016.
Its founder and CEO Daniel Szor is a former Wall Street banker who is now living the dream.
He said: “We’re delighted at this expression of support from our community. As the only working traditional distillery in the area, we’re proud to bring the ancient art of artisanal distilling to Warwickshire and the Cotswolds.
“The grant will allow us to increase our whisky production significantly and take on apprentice distillers, and should also be a boost to tourism in the North Cotswolds.”
The distillery is based on a five-acre rural plot near Stourton. It was helped to get into business by leading Scottish distillers who also trained younger local men.
It started production of Cotswolds Single Malt, using local barley, and Cotswolds Dry Gin in September. The initial malt production run is currently in vaults in Liverpool where it will take three years to mature. The gin is on sale already.
Tim Powell of the University of Warwick Science Park has been advising the Cotswolds Distillery through the RGN initiative.
He said: “There are a num-ber of craft beer and cider producers all located in this part of the county.
“The Cotswold Distillery completes a cluster of artisanal activity bringing new employment opportunities for apprentice distillers, as well as adding another feature for tourism in the region.” Warwickshire is one of five Rural Growth Network pilots in the country and was set up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The programme is run by the Warwickshire County Council on behalf of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and is targeted at supporting economic growth in rural areas.