Grown, malted, and distilled in Northumberland – The Perfect Provenance for Northumberland’s Ad Gefrin whisky distillery

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Ad Gefrin is delighted to announce that the inaugural barley growers for making its Northumbrian Whisky, will be farms all within 10 miles of the Distillery itself.   The barley will be stored locally, and malted in Berwick Upon Tweed, by Simpsons Malt, before delivery to Wooler. Fully traceable the whole operation is happening within a 20-mile radius of Ad Gefrin!

Northumberland is renowned for producing the very best quality  barley and it is in demand throughout the world.  The type of barley chosen for Ad Gefrin is Diablo, the highest yielding spring barley on the market.  The four farmers selected to grow in the region of 400 tonnes between them for Ad Gefrin, are Tom Jackson, growing at Northfield Farm, Lowick, George Farr of Pallinsburn, David Warcup of Letham Hill Farm, Etal and Cameron Shell of Brandon near Powburn.

Grown by local farmers

Ben Murphy, head distiller at Ad Gefrin said, “It is so exciting to be able to produce a malt which will be grown by local farmers, and malted by Simpsons Malt, who are literally just up the road.  The relationship with growers will be collaborative, as the barley is grown and malted specifically for us.”

Barley is not the only ingredient that will be entirely local – perhaps the most important by volume is the water.  This will be drawn from a borehole on site which will deliver its ancient waters from a depth of 200m which has come directly from the nearby Cheviot hills themselves.  Keen to do all they can to  help the environment, energy for the process will also be sourced locally, with electricity generated from Ad Gefrin’s extensive rooftop solar panels.  

MR Murphy concludes: “A whisky is of course not just about the barley; the barley is just one of many factors.  There is the water, and the years required for maturing, the wood chosen for the casks, and of course the careful handling by the stills’ team.   Ad Gefrin will be a Northumbrian Whisky, through and through, grown, distilled and nurtured in the shadow of the Cheviot Hills.” 

The relationship with Simpsons Malt is also vital to Ad Gefrin, as the fifth-generation, family business has the infrastructure in place – through its position as both a malting and agricultural merchanting company – to connect the grower to distiller, showcasing supply chain traceability from seed to spirit. It has formed this partnership for supplies to Wooler’s new distillery that helps guarantee their local provenance and quality throughout the world.

Major milestone

“It is really exciting to be part of such a major milestone for Wooler and north Northumberland.” enthused grower Tom Jackson, “Normally our malting barley goes to Scotland, so we are pleased and proud to be part of this new enterprise to produce a genuinely local product.”

Tim McCreath, Simpsons Malt managing director, added: “It has been fantastic to work so closely with Ben as the exciting developments at Ad Gefrin have progressed over the past 12 months.

“The distillery’s high-quality Northumbrian spring barley has been sown at farms less than 10 miles from the site and we’re now counting down the days until harvest. From there, we will collect and store the barley before transporting it to our Tweed Valley Maltings for malting and subsequent delivery, passing a couple of the farms during the 17-mile journey.”

Ad Gefrin will be the first ever commercial whisky distillery in Northumberland and will be opening its doors to the public in the Autumn of this year.  As well as creating the first Northumbrian Single Malt Whisky, and in the region of 50 jobs, this £10.4m development will include a world class cultural visitor experience celebrating Northumbria’s Golden Age. 


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