“Oddly enough, my first experience of practical distilling was in Sweden. Though I love all types of whiskey. From Chichibu in Japan to Seattle’s Westland to Holland’s Millstone and of course Scottish, my favorite premium whiskey every day is English. It has nothing to do with owning the distillery! “
Two Americans are behind an artisanal whiskey revolution and an award-winning distillery in the typical English Cotswold countryside.
Cotswolds DistilleryDaniel Szor’s founder and CEO was born and raised in New York City. He has worked on Wall Street, London and Paris, specializing in the sale and marketing of currency investment management services. He was a member of the executive board of the New York-based Currency Managers FX Concepts for over 25 years.
“I lived in Paris and tried a lot of different wines like Americans do in France. I was invited to a scotch malt whiskey event and fell in love with a single malt. A friend and I started going to distilleries, and that’s how I got into whiskey and became a whiskey freak. “
After Sozr bought an old farmhouse in Stourton near Shipston-on-Stour, a hundred miles west of London and nine miles from Stratford on Avon, and was inspired by the phenomenal growth in craft spirit interest in the United States, he made up his mind to combine his home with two loves – whiskey and the Cotswolds. ” One day in 2012 I was looking out our window in South Warwickshire. I could only see barley and thought, “Why didn’t anyone make whiskey here?”
Established in 2014, the distillery in Phillip’s Field in the Red Horse Valley now employs over fifty people. Including Morristown, New Jersey-born production manager Nick Franchino, whose Italian relatives made their own liquors in the Tomes River area. He lived in Memphis for four years and moved to the UK.
Nick and the man who was to be his boss met on a distillation class in Edinburgh. Your distillery was named World Craft Producer of the Year at the Whiskey Awards.
Daniel bought his first whiskey barrel when it reopened in 2002 Bruichladdich distillery on Islay, where he met and was influenced by James McEwan. “All of our whiskey is made from locally grown barley from the Cotswolds. Our idea was to make a whiskey that is 100% Cotswolds and uses Cotswolds grain. We use a fifth generation farming family, the Greens. the tenants are in Coombe on the Blenheim Estate.
“I first visited the Cotswolds over 25 years ago for a friend’s wedding. I never thought I’d live here and build a distillery and make my own whiskey!”
“Given my exquisite lack of whiskey making experience, I was fortunate enough to have the help of Harry Cockburn, who ran the whiskey Bowmore Distillery in Islay, had retired but helped set up distilleries as a consultant. The late great Jim Swan was our chemist and taste guru. We have him to thank for helping us make a whiskey that we hope is a true reflection of the Cotswolds. “
“I’ve worked on an algorithmic forex trading system, but now I’m communicating the values of something I really believe in and love. Being an entrepreneur takes a rare combination of courage and total ignorance. I just wanted to make a whiskey, up.” that I would be proud of and that I would like to drink. This is harder than it sounds because I had visited many artisanal distilleries in the US where small batch artisanal distillation began ten years before Britain. “
Financially opening a distillery is something Sozhe would not wish for his worst enemy. “How do you turn distilling into a small fortune? Start with a big one! You are doing things that you will not benefit from for years. We brought out a gin and that helped while the whiskey was maturing. Locals helped with the bottling! Our first listing was from Fortnum & Mason and we are now sold in forty different countries.
“It takes one to two weeks to make gin. We have used local Cotswolds lavender in ours. It’s botanically intense. To be a whiskey, under English law, the whiskey must be three years and one day old. We keep our gin stills Lorelei and Dolly just as busy as our two whiskey stills Mary and Janis! During Co-vid, our website has had very, very strong sales. “
The distillery’s visitor center was funded by benevolent enthusiasts with crowd funding. Tours are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region.
Sozr continues: “Our whiskey is what they call NAS – No Age Statement. Every bottle reads the established 2014. English whiskey is part of the global whiskey boom. Basically no whiskey that is not made in Scotland, Ireland or Kentucky. ”
“Our locally grown barley is traditionally malted on the ground in Warminster, Britain’s oldest working malt from 1855. We only take the purest part of the liquor run – the ‘hearts’. We use ex-Kentucky bourbon barrels and shaved roasted and charred red wine barrels made from American oak to mature our flagship single malt. “
“Some of our whiskeys are fully matured in the barrels of Madeira, Rum, Calvados and Pineau des Charentes. Starting in 2021, we will be making some limited releases from these barrels every year. You can make an excellent three year old whiskey. And a very English one did the same as he did in Scotland fifty years ago. “