Roudham-based English Whisky company to export to America after two year legal wrangle ends
09:00 14 December 2012
©Archant Photographic 2010
A Norfolk distiller will export his whisky across the Atlantic after more than two years of legal wrangling.
The English Whisky Company at Roudham, which has been storing its spirit in former bourbon casks for the last five years, had been fighting against US rules which said that in order to call the product single-malt, it must be matured in brand new barrels.
Head of St George’s Distillery Andrew Nelstrop said he now had a whisky which would conform to the law however after maturing his first batch of whisky in virgin casks.
“It’s taken so long that we’ve had the time to make slightly different whisky for the American market,” he said. “We were doing it on a trial run anyway and the moment we said we were doing it they said we could go.”
Mr Nelstrop, a member of the EDP Future 50, had called for the US to level the playing field for distillers after it emerged that there was one rule for Irish and Scottish companies and another for the rest of the world.
The managing director said that distilleries in Ireland and Scotland were allowed to sell single malt matured in used casks.
However, the American Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau had ruled that distillers from other countries had to use new oak barrels in order to export and brand their produce as single malt whisky.
Mr Nelstrop, who started production at the distillery at Roudham in 2006, said he had been lobbying UK trade bodies, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and embassies but with no luck.
A launch in Boston, Washington and New York will now take place in march next year.
The English Whisky Company Mr Nelstrop added: “A virgin cask, in the simplest terms, gives a slightly fruitier flavour, but it’s quite small degrees of flavour.
“The English and the Americans do tend to get on quite well and they do like all things British so I think we have a good market.”
Mr Nelstrop, who already exports to 12 countries across the world, including Japan and Canada, said the distillery would start by selling about 20,000 bottles a year in America.