Will post-Brexit deal put Norfolk whisky on the rocks?

PUBLISHED: 11:27 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:52 06 August 2019

Andrew Nelstrop, who runs The English Whisky Co. Pic: Archant

Andrew Nelstrop, who runs The English Whisky Co. Pic: Archant

The boss of a Norfolk whisky firm has called for any Brexit changes in rules governing the age of the spirit to apply to all so he can “compete on a level playing field”.

The Norfolk brand of whisky produced by The English Whisky Co. Pic: ArchantThe Norfolk brand of whisky produced by The English Whisky Co. Pic: Archant

It comes over concerns that new trade deals with the US and Japan could see 24 hour-made whisky flooding the market.

Currently EU and UK law stipulates whisky, one of the UK's biggest exports, has to be aged in casks for a minimum of three years with most manufacturers choosing to do so for a lot longer. But the US makes a spirit called Glyph that is like whisky but made overnight.

Andrew Nelstrop, owner of The English Whisky Co, based in Roudham, near Larling, off the A11, produces 150,000 bottles of whisky a year but sells about half that number a year because of the ageing process required.

He said he was not concerned as long as any change in legislation applied to the UK.

Andrew Nelstrop, who runs The English Whisky Co. Pic: ArchantAndrew Nelstrop, who runs The English Whisky Co. Pic: Archant

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"At the moment we're not allowed to make anything that's not kept in a cask for three years. If this changed, I wouldn't be concerned as long as the rule applied to everyone, so we could compete on a level playing field.

"I'd have to accept that we would start doing it. But you'd get a generalised term for whisky and you'd have to have different names for those which were old and others produced in 24 hours. It would be a very different product.

"You can be snobbish about it with people who only drink a malt with some water but others go and buy a cheaper whisky and drink it with Coca-Cola and whisky produced more quickly would affect this market, the entry level for whisky."

The Nelstrop family have a 600-year tradition of growing and processing grain and Andrew Nelstrop has been running The English Whisky Co for almost 14 years.

St George's distillery is the home to The English Whisky Co, designed and built by the Nelstrop family for the specific purpose of producing English single malt whisky. Norfolk is one of the world's premier growing barley regions, so the firm has a plentiful and local supply.

The firm prides itself in not adding colour nor flavours but let the barrels do that so use fine oak casks. for the process. Its whisky is batch made by hand with no computers, filled into casks and then left to age until its distillers consider it perfect for bottling, also done by hand.

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