First it was wine from Holmfirth. Then came gin from North Yorkshire. Now malt whisky has joined Yorkshire’s drinking renaissance.
The county has long been home to alcohol production with major breweries across our landscape but now they have been joined by scores of newer ventures.
Holmfirth Vineyard claims to be the highest in the country and one of the most northerly. Several gin companies produce tipples in North Yorkshire. And several cider firms have joined the fray. But until now whisky production has been thin on the ground.
However history was made in Yorkshire today as the county’s first single malt went on sale.
Three-and a-half years after the first spirit flowed from the stills at Spirit of Yorkshire distillery in Hunmanby in North Yorkshire, Filey Bay Single Malt Whisky has hit the shelves.
It is one of just a handful of distilleries outside Scotland making single malt whisky and the first in Yorkshire. It will be at least three years before the two other distilleries in they county, Cooper King near York and Whittakers near Harrogate, will have a Yorkshire single malt whisky.
It has been a labour of love for owners David Thompson and Tom Mellor who first had the idea to create Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky eight years ago.
“Filey Bay is unique. Not only is it Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky, but we are one of only a handful of whisky makers in the UK that have a full field to bottle process,” explains Mr Thompson.
All the barley that goes into the whisky is grown on the 300 acre Wolds farm, all the water is from a bore hole on the farm and even the bespoke Filey Bay bottle is made in Yorkshire by Allied Glass The whisky is made in two of the largest Forsyth pot stills operating in the UK outside of Scotland.
“As well as this, our production allows us to create two different spirit styles, using a pot and column still configuration to create a flavour profile that is unlike any other malt whisky. Even our bottle is bespoke, bringing together our land and coast, and our mascot, the gannet. Every bottle of Filey Bay represents the passion and dedication of everyone involved. You only get to release the county’s first whisky once and we’re thrilled to now share it with customers old and new.”
Spirit of Yorkshire’s Whisky Director, Joe Clark is delighted with the flavour profile of Filey Bay which is 46 per cent ABV. “You can’t rush whisky,” says Mr Clark.
“That is the nature of the spirit and it’s massively exciting to see our 2016 casks yielding a whisky full of character. Our First Release is a combination of our two distillate styles matured in select oak casks to produce a whisky that is creamy, light and fruity with flavours of vanilla, honey, citrus and caramel.”
Filey Bay First Release is limited to 6,000 70cl bottles at £55. It is available from the distillery shop, at www.spiritofyorkshire.com, in Booths stores, Farmer Copleys and from premium retailers. Tours of the distillery take place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm Monday to Saturday and 11am and 1pm on Sunday. They cost £12.50. See Next Saturday’s The Yorkshire Post Magazine for Rise of Yorkshire whisky.
Spirit of Yorkshire was launched in 2016 and is a collaboration between farmer and brewer, Tom Mellor from Wold Top Brewery and business partner, David Thompson. The pair have worked hard to create a sustainable whisky distillery in Yorkshire, that doesn’t simply replicate Scotch whisky production. It employs 35 people and although it was only launched today it is now to be stocked in all 28 Booths stores as well as online and other selected stockists.
Booths’ buyer Pete Newton is thrilled to be one of the first retailers to stock Filey Bay: “Booths is delighted to be supporting the Spirit of Yorkshire with their release of Filey Bay into all of its stores.”