Following an investment of more than £500k and a full refurbishment subject to planning, Durham Distillery will become a fixture within the impending Riverwalk complex, neighbouring the new Odeon cinema and several restaurants as part of its £30M redevelopment.
Spanning over 4,000 sq. ft. taking a ground floor space at the former Gates Shopping Centre, the new site will house production of the first whisky to be distilled in the North East and welcome visitors once the extensive works reach completion.
Situated on the city’s picturesque riverside complete with views of the Castle and Cathedral, the distillery will continue production of its popular gin and vodka products but at an increased level, as well as pioneer a new brand, Durham Whisky – all led by head distiller Jessica Tomlinson.
Set to create up to 20 jobs over the course of the project and expected to open in the autumn, it hopes to become a visitor destination as part of Durham’s newly enhanced leisure quarter, and will host guided tours daily, as well as private functions and corporate events, in addition to being a welcome space for local people to enjoy as a meeting place.
Distillery owner Jon Chadwick said: “Since our launch five years ago our gin and vodka brands have gone from strength to strength, and our growth will see us expand into a premises with a great deal of potential right on Durham’s riverside – a dream location for me having been born and raised in the city.
“The overall investment into Durham is much-needed and will see the city offer a dynamic leisure experience, attracting tourists and giving local people a lot more choice. We’re looking forward to being a part of this and can’t wait to get the stills in place and open our doors to visitors.”
Jessica added: “2018 is set to be a huge year for Durham as the city’s high profile leisure developments really start to come to life and open for business, and it’s amazing to announce we plan to join the new Riverwalk complex.
“The production of the first whisky for this part of England is exciting news not just for fans of the spirit, but people passionate about the North East too who can be part of whisky history. It’s also a great position to be in as we gear up for increased production of Durham Gin and Durham Vodka following the relocation.”
Commercial law firm Square One Law and Harlands Accountants assisted Durham Distillery in securing the successful leasing agreement – due to be signed this spring.
Helen Brain, commercial partner at Square One Law, said: “Durham Distillery’s recent relocation and investment have signalled its passion for regional heritage and commitment to strengthening its brand. Through ambitious growth and expansion plans its ongoing success creates significant potential for future scale-up.”
Durham Distillery was the first emerging business to be invested in from the Finance Durham Fund, receiving a£250,000 investment to assist its relocation and production of Durham Whisky.
Michael Vassallo, investment director at Maven added: “We are delighted to support Durham Distillery’s growth plans through the Finance Durham Fund investment. Jon is a real entrepreneur with a very talented team behind him. This is an exciting business with products tailored to an increasing market demand. We look forward to helping Durham Distillery in its quest to launch the region’s first whisky.”