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Business & Economy

Global listing puts Northumberland’s Ad Gefrin distillery on world map – before it’s even opened

A £12 million–plus whisky distillery is making waves around the world – before its doors have even opened.

The Ad Gefrin Visitor Experience and Distillery, in Wooler, Northumberland, has been listed in the top ten most anticipated museum openings worldwide by The Smithsonian Magazine.

Recognition from the publication – which is the official journal of The Smithsonian Institution, in the US – is significant commendation for the venture, which is due to open later this year.

Co-founded by Alan and Eileen Ferguson, Ad Gefrin takes inspiration from the site of the seventh century summer royal palace of the Anglo-Saxon kings and queens at Yeavering, near Wooler.

The duo say its visitor experience will re-imagine the palace’s royal court, with technology bringing the period to life alongside displays of artefacts found at the site and borrowed from museums and collections.

Visitors will also be able to tour the distillery and sample its produce – including the signature Ad Gefrin single malt whisky – in a tasting room.

The Ferguson family has lived, worked and created business in Northumberland for four generations, and Alan and Eileen say the endeavour represents “a genuine regeneration effort (and) a catalyst for positive change that aims to revitalise the local community and put Wooler on the map”.

Their vision has attracted support from local and national government, receiving £3 million through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, £1 million North East Rural Growth Network SEIF Funding through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, and £600,000 through Northumberland County Council.

Alan said: “We have been genuinely overwhelmed by the support we have received, and the way people have bought into our vision.

“The encouragement and good will of the local community has been unwavering, and we won’t let them down.

“We were also amazed that we have been inundated from the very beginning by people from further afield asking how they could get involved.

“So when we launched our Corenkyn Founders programme, we had investors with connections to the county signing up from as far away as Australia.

“It’s not just whisky enthusiasts that want to be part of Ad Gefrin, but those that are inspired as we are by the prospect of creating a catalyst for a new golden age for Northumbria.”