Spirit of Yorkshire

Aimée Smith, 03 September, 2018
Lying between the seaside towns of Scarborough and Filey, the small Yorkshire village of Hunmanby is a place where countryside meets coast, and where a new local business is on the verge of creating the county’s first ever whisky.

Spirit of Yorkshire was launched in 2016 and is a collaboration between farmer and brewer Tom Mellor from Wold Top Brewery, and his business partner, David Thompson. Along with their small team of dedicated individuals, they are working to create a locally and sustainably produced single malt whisky.

Theirs is a true field-to-bottle business, where there is traceability on every grain that is mashed, milled and distilled. It is thought to be the only distillery in the UK which grows all of its own barley – indeed, all of the barley used is grown on land that has been in Tom’s family for four generations and ranks among some of the best land for growing malting barley in Europe. The chalk-filtered spring water required for the distillation process is also sourced from the family farm, located fewer than five miles from the distillery.

It’s incredibly important to Tom and David to “do things properly ” and so in the early days of the business they enlisted the services of the renowned whisky expert, the late Dr Jim Swan. Under his guidance, their approach has been to take the best of tradition and combine this with innovative new thinking to create something unique that “doesn’t just replicate scotch ”.

They have invested significantly to realise this dream and their distillery – which is available to visit – boasts some of the most impressive equipment in the country, including two of the largest Forsyth pot stills operating in the UK outside of Scotland. They also have a four-plate copper column that works in tandem with the spirit still. The stills were fired up for the first time in May 2016 and since then they have filled over 1000 casks, including sherry butts and bourbon casks, whose combinations help to create the subtle, complex flavours of their unique spirit.

Until next year, when the maturing spirit can legally be called whisky, they are creating a series of four limited edition collectible spirits called Distillery Projects. The latest, DP003, offers a taste of the maturing casks and has notes of milk chocolate, stoned fruits, banana split, pink wafer biscuits and orange zest. There is also a cask offering which includes a limited number of first fill ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks.

In addition to distilling whisky and conducting guided tours of the distillery, the team at Spirit of Yorkshire are looking to the future and hope to take advantage of the huge growth in whisky tourism that has taken place over the last five years. Their ambition is to double visitor numbers year on year and, with this in mind, they have plans to enhance the distillery experience with a bistro and visitor centre. Exciting times ahead…

Spirit of Yorkshire

Tom, David and the team are always keen to show visitors around the distillery and tours run every day of the week, subject to availability. You’ll learn all about the age-old process of whisky production and have the chance to sample some of their Maturing Malt, which is also for sale on their online shop.
Find out more and shop here >
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