Local micro-distillery, Forest Distillery, is going from strength to strength, has released a whisky and continues to expand into new markets across the world, as local MP, David Rutley, learned on a recent visit, with the company aiming to increase exports to constitute 90 per cent of its total revenue over the next five years.
David, who is also a Minister at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with responsibility for food and drink, was shown around the distillery, by founders Karl and Lindsay Bond and their small team of three staff members. Based in a 17th Century stone barn within Macclesfield Forest in the Peak District National Park, the company now exports to countries including Japan, China, New Zealand and Germany. The Bonds took David through the distilling and bottling process, which utilises pestles and mortars and tiny 25 litre stills, and highlighted the very popular range of gins and whiskys produced by the company, which are predominately produced using organic and foraged ingredients, and water from the company's own natural spring.
The business began in 2014, with the Bonds distilling small batches of spirits from the kitchen table in their home next to Macclesfield Forest, with infusions of berries, mosses and ferns foraged from the surrounding hills. Things moved rapidly on from there, with the distillery moving to its current location in the Forest, and the company's products now being sold world-wide. They launched their whisky distilling arm last year, one of only a handful of firms in England to receive a licence to produce whisky, and it is already proving a big success. The quality of the company's gin has seen it win an unprecedented two separate double-gold medals at the San Francisco Spirit Awards. The business continues to receive ongoing support in realising its further ambitions from the Department for International Trade, for example, participating in several trade visits, including to China.
The distillery has its own bar, open Tuesday to Fridays until 5pm, where visitors can sample the company’s products, and tours of the distillery are also available. More details can be found on the company's website at: www.theforestdistillery.com
Speaking after his visit, David said, "Forest Distillery is a great local success story, and I congratulate Karl and Lindsay on all their impressive achievements in growing their business over the past five years, whilst retaining the production techniques that have made its spirits so popular, both in the UK and across the world. It is clear that the company has no intention of letting up on its ambitions for growth and bringing its high-quality local products to wider markets, and I wish all at the distillery every success in taking forward these exciting plans."