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Spirits production returns to East End

By Luke Nicholls , 14-Mar-2014

A new craft spirits company is set to bring spirits production back to London’s East End next month with the launch of a gin, whisky and vodka distillery and adjacent cocktail bar.

Situated on the southern edge of Victoria Park, the East London Liquor Company is the brainchild of former Barworks operations manager Alex Wolpert and master distiller Jamie Baxter.

It is the first producer to open a distillery in the East of London since the Lea Valley Distillery – on the site where the Olympic Park now stands – which closed in the early 20th century.

“With the launch of East London Liquor Company, we want to revive East London’s rich legacy of spirits manufacturing,” said Wolpert. “The craft spirits trade went through a huge and successful resurgence in the USA and now the UK is experiencing a similar renaissance, with several city distilleries popping up across the capital over the past 10 years.

“The East London Liquor Company distillery isn’t opening until April but we already have numerous bars lined up to take our gins, vodka, rum and whisky – London clearly has an appetite for quality and locally produced spirits.”

Artisanal gins

The distillery will produce a range of quality handcrafted spirits from two copper stills,450-650litres at a time. This will include two super-premium, artisanal gins that will celebrate the role that London has played in developing and refining gin since its introduction to the capital in the early 1600s.

Alongside these, the distillery will produce a quintessential London dry gin, a smooth artisanal vodka and a whisky that will be aged on site for a minimum of three years. The East London Liquor Company will also import its own rum from the renowned Demerara Distillers Limited, in Guyana, South America.

Locals and visitors alike will be able to enjoy all these craft spirits at the distillery’s own cocktail bar. The bar will feature a large glass wall through which drinkers can look into the distillery room to see how the spirits are made, whilst drinking them in a range of bespoke cocktails, put together by head mixologist, Piyush Chavda.

Distilling renaissance

Master Distiller Baxter, who will offer intimate tours, spirit tastings and ‘make your own batch‘ sessions with customers, said the opening of the East London Liquor Company ‘marks a really exciting step for London’s craft spirit industry’.

“When we open in April, we will be the only London distillery producing and importing four premium spirits and the first to bring the industry back to the East End – where it all started for English spirits,” said Baxter.

The launch of East London Liquor Company is part of a wider craft distilling renaissance, which has been inspired by the success of small-scale distilleries in the USA and is now reviving the capital’s rich heritage of spirits production.

East London Liquor Company & Cocktail Bar will open at 221 Grove Road in April.