English Whisky society formed by ex-UEA graduate

This October, whisky connoisseurs will be joining in an exploration of a new sector of the market: English whisky.

From October 16-17, a virtual event hosted by the recently-formed English Whisky Society will discuss the boom in English whisky production over the last two decades, the prospective future of the industry, and the technical aspects of whisky production, whilst enjoying 30 taster samples from 14 English distilleries.

Among the companies to be taking part in the discussions, as well as appearing in the tasting pack, will be The English Whisky Company, based in Norfolk, and the international award-winning Cotswolds Distillery.

The English Whisky Society was founded by Richard Foster, a former graduate of UEA, in the wake of a rapid increase in English whisky manufacturing since the early 21st century, propelling it out of its former corner in the ‘World Whiskies’ category.

Speaking to Concrete, Foster said, “The exciting thing about English whisky is that it isn’t currently constrained by tight regulations like in Scotland, allowing for a degree of experimentation and boundary-pushing.

“Online tasting events have surged throughout Covid Lockdown … You get to try multiple English whiskies alongside each other, further helping refine your preferred distilleries and styles.”

Foster also revealed that some of the whiskies featured in the taster kit are not currently available for purchase in supermarkets.

The increase transitioned from only one distillery, owned by The English Whisky Company, in 2006 to currently 26 distilleries reaching to Cumbria and Yorkshire further north, to London and Kent in the southeast, and Cornwall and Devon in the west.

England has not been well known for its whisky production, particularly compared with Scotland, but historic distilleries were producing English whisky in London, Liverpool, and Bristol in the 19th century, before breaking down, with no new distilleries opening for over 100 years.


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Jamie Hose

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October 2021
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