As the global market for whisky continues its soaring growth - with a projected increase in value from $60bn to $108bn over the next decade, English whisky distilleries are making it official. This week the English Whisky Guild (‘EWG’) publicly launches with an overarching vision of showcasing and protecting the remarkable quality and diversity of the now numerous, unique whiskies that are crafted in England.
EWG’s inaugural Chairman Andrew Nelstrop (of the English Whisky Company) comments: “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.”
There are now 40 whisky distilleries spanning England, from the tip of the south-west to the furthest north-eastern edge, at all stages of development; some just getting started, the oldest of which has been distilling for nearly 20 years. Currently composed of 15 founder members, who are all distilling spirit at a wide variety of production scales, and of which we’re proud to be one, the first step of the EWG has been to submit a Geographical Indicator (‘GI’) to DEFRA. The GI will legally define English whisky to ensure consistent, understandable standards for all current and prospective distillers, of all sizes. 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.
The volume of spirit produced by English distilleries is forecasted to grow 189% from 2019-2023. Over the same period, the number of bottles sold is predicted to increase by 418%. Numerous awards, including 2022s World’s Best Single Malt Whisky have been won by single malts and blended whiskies created and produced in England. The goals of the EWG are to ensure that this high standard continues and thrives, whilst also to encourage and showcase the diversity of flavour profiles and production techniques which underpin the sector.
David Broom, award winning drinks writer notes: "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. I wish the Guild all the best in its continuing work."