The Lakes Distillery Information

Located in Low Barkhouse; an old Victorian-era farm situated next to the Bassenthwaite lake in Setmurthy, Cumbria, the Lakes Distillery was founded in 2014 by Paul Currie, who previously co-founded the Arran distillery on the Isle of Arran with his father. The master distiller, Chris Anderson, formerly worked at Caol Ila, Lagavulin, Brackla and Aberfeldy. The still-house and mash house are located in what used to be the main barn of the farm, while the bistro, bar and distillery shop is located in what used to be cattle sheds.

The idea for the distillery came to Currie some 5 earlier while taking a vacation with his family. The surroundings in Lake District National Park are rather similar to the Scottish geography, and the water turned out to be of extremely good quality, even containing peat from its travels down the nearby hills. With the location of the distillery in a national park, this meant that getting started with the distillery took 4 years of pushing paperwork before the proper permissions were obtained, and an additional year for the planning of the project itself. The area was actually well-known for illicit distilling. The most famous of these moonshiners, Lancelot “Lanty” Slee, is prominently featured (in 3D) in the tours at the Lakes distillery.

The Lakes distillery prides itself on being a “Green” distillery, using bio-mass for most of the heating, and intending to recycle as much as possible in order to reduce their footprint. The scale of the plant was too small to entirely rely on bioenergy though, so the production process is using oil for heating.

The Lakes whisky

At this very moment, no single malt whisky is available yet, as the distillery started in 2014, and the whisky needs to have matured for at least 3 years before it can be sold as whisky. Unlike Scottish whisky, which has to be matured in oak, the Lakes Distillery intends to also experiment with other types of wood (maple, chestnut, birch).

The first batch of Single Malt is to be available in 2017, and will be slightly peated. However, while waiting for this, the distillery sells some other spirits (produced in a third still that is separate from the whisky stills):

  • The Lakes Vodka
  • The Lakes Gin
  • The One; a blended whisky made from whiskies from the British Isles (Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England)

While stock lasts, you can purchase a membership for the “Founders’ club”, which entitles you to a bottle whisky for the first ten years the distillery operates. Every year, you will be sent a bottle as well as 2 samples, allowing you to follow the maturation of the whisky. The cost for this is 595 GBP. If you have a bit more cash to spend, you might want to consider becoming a Connoisseur member, which entitles you to the same perks as the Founders Club, but additionally you will get your veyr own whisky cask, invitations to exclusive events, and all kinds of other perks.

Distillery info:

NameThe Lakes Distillery
Water sourceRiver Derwent
Owned byThe Lakes Distillery Company Limited

The Lakes Distillery
Bassenthwaite Lake
CA13 9SJ

Visitor centreYes (and a bistro)
CommunitySignature Club

Distillery Setup:

Mash tun1.1 tonnes1 (Stainless Steel)
Washback5,450 litres4
Wash still5,450 litres1
Spirit Still3,630 litres1
Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)250,000