Business & Economy
Ad Gefrin ‘a great story for Northumberland’ as doors set to officially open
March 20, 2023
A multi-million-pound Anglo-Saxon museum and whisky distillery is set to make an “immense” difference to Northumberland’s economy, officials have said.
Ad Gefrin will open its doors to the public on Saturday, March 25.
And bosses say the Wooler-based endeavour is “a great news story for Northumberland”, which leaves the area “optimistic for the future”.
Co-founded by Alan and Eileen Ferguson, Ad Gefrin takes inspiration from the site of the seventh century summer royal palace of the kings and queens at nearby Yeavering, which once attracted visitors from Europe, Scandinavia and North Africa.
Using technology, as well as displays of rare and never before seen treasures, visitors can sample the area’s Anglo-Saxon ‘Golden Age’ while savouring Ad Gefrin’s signature whisky.
Based on a former haulage business site, the venture has been backed by a £16 million investment, which includes £4 million from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, £1 million from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and £600,000 from Northumberland County Council.
- Roger Miket, of the Gefrin Trust, and Ad Gefrin’s Dr Chris Ferguson install museum objects Picture: Sally Ann Norman
“I have deep family roots here, so feel privileged to have been able to put something significant and lasting back into the community that has given us so much,” said Eileen, revealing the project has already created 60 jobs.
She added: “We want to create a long-term legacy, and that centuries-old link to the distant past and a timeless hospitality makes Ad Gefrin the perfect signpost to Wooler’s future.
“The wholehearted support and enthusiasm of the people of Wooler have carried us through all the challenges and milestones, and we are delighted so many local people have become so involved in helping to make Ad Gefrin the success we know it will be.”
Councillor Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council and Borderlands Partnership board member, said Ad Gefrin’s potential to attract tens of thousands of visitors each year will have an “immense” impact on the area.
He said: “I want to pay tribute to the Ferguson family and the team at Ad Gefrin for their vision, passion and incredible hard work to create a first-class visitor destination and distillery, which will boost and regenerate this rural economy.
“Ad Gefrin has highlighted the rich history of the area and will offer a unique, year-round visitor experience with huge financial spin-offs for local shops, restaurants, services and employment.”
Siobhan Younger, chair of the Wooler Traders Association, added: “Ad Gefrin has brought back a positivity to Wooler, and residents and retailers are very excited for the future of our wonderful town.”
Ad Gefrin was listed in the top ten most anticipated museum openings worldwide by The Smithsonian Magazine last year.
It also launched its first drink – Tácnbora – in late 2022, which translates as ‘standard bearer’ in Old English, with bosses saying it would “pave the way for its gin and single malt in years to come”.