English Whisky: Progress Report '21

Happy St George's Day!  While some of us Brits might be itching to escape to an exotic international location, there's plenty to be proud of when it comes to England - like its whisky! There's no question that in recent years English whisky has far and away stolen many whisky drinkers' hearts.

With an ever-widening array of whisky styles, pioneered by a score of whiskymakers from Scotch heavyweight-hand-me-downs to passionate first-timers, English whisky is here to stay. When we wrote about English whisky last year, it was undergoing a huge period of growth and change. While the pandemic might've slowed that down some, 2021 is showing that the malted spirit of England is still very much thriving. Here's our English whisky progress report: exciting things that have happened in the English whiskey scene recently.

English whisky, the 2021 progress report

The Lakes 4th Whiskymakers Reserve Release launches

The Lakes Whiskymakers No 4 The Lakes Whiskymakers Reserve No. 4, released 21st April 2021

The fourth edition of The Lakes Distillery's Whiskymaker's Reserve range, their sherry-led house style of single malt, has just been released. We're no stranger to their delicious whiskies, having featured several of them in past boxes. Their flavourful English whiskies always go down a treat! If past releases are anything to go by, this one probably won't last long. Want to taste this whisky? Keep your eyes peeled for a special Dram Team announcement coming soon!

Spirit of Yorkshire release their first Flagship edition single malt

Hurrah, another English distillery has come of age and released their first flagship whisky! Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery, who grow their own barley at their onsite farm, unveiled their aptly-named Filey Bay "Flagship" single malt in late 2020. It's designed to showcase the DNA of their single malt. The release follows hot on the heels of previous sneak-preview releases, aged in ex-bourbon and sherry casks.

St George's Distillery (aka English Whisky Co.) announce distribution via Mangrove Spirits

In a move that reiterates how robust the English whisky industry appears, premium spirits distributor Mangrove announced they're taking over distribution of English Whisky Co. Why should you care? Well, not only does it mean that this venerable distillery's drams may become more widely available, it's also a signal that the industry has a growing appetite for "new world" whiskies. Hopefully, that means more investment, and even more amazing whiskies coming onto the market in the future.

Exploring English Whisky Festival "save the date"

English Whisky Festival 2021

Last year we were honoured to be able to help bring the inaugural Exploring English Whisky Festival (née English Whisky Society) tasting packs into people's homes. It was a brilliant festival, with guest speakers from the cream of the English whisky industry, and fantastic drams to boot. The organisers have just announced that the festival will take place again on the 3rd and 4th of September 2021. Keep an eye out for more details on their website and social media.

TOAD release their first Oxford Rye Whisky, on St George's Day

We wrote about how cool this quirky, geeky Oxford distillery was a while back, but The Oxford Artisan Distillery's releases back then were still too young to technically be called whisky. Good news for rye fans! They're releasing their first rye whisky on St George's Day 2021. An initial pre-order run has already sold out, so if you want to get your hands on this, we'd recommend getting in quickly.

Cooper King Distillery release 2021 English Whisky Map

The annually-updated English Whisky Map, courtesy of York-based Cooper King Distillery, has just been released! 9 more distilleries have been added this year, taking the total active whisky-making distilleries in England to 33. Time to start planning your English whisky road trip - when restrictions ease, of course!

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