The Lakes has long been a crucible for creativity, a place in which the imagination can flourish. It isn’t preserved in aspic, a place of nodding daffodils and naughty bunnies, but a challenging place where questions can be asked, new ideas formulated, something which goes deeper than picture box prettiness.
Wordsworth returned here because it was the only place he could formulate his radical thoughts about poetry; his fellow poets joined him because in the wildness they found the Romantic ideal of the sublime that challenged conventional thoughts of beauty. It didn’t stop there, countless artists, authors, philosophers and musicians have found in the Lakes a place where their vision can be fully manifested. It seeps into every word, note or brushstroke.
Why The Lakes?
Whisky at its best triggers an emotional response, it is more than a drink. It shares that with landscape.
If you strip it back to basics what you need for a new distillery is access to lots of cold, clean water, space for storing the casks, and access to market. You could make whisky anywhere these requirements are met. What makes you choose the place, speaks of the person.
The Lakes exerts a pull on the soul
This pull has been the same for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years. Poets, artists, novelists, sculptors, have been drawn here, its fells and waters make people settle down and stay, draw more in.
So it was with the Currie family. Paul may have worked in Scotch whisky, but holidays were taken back home in England, in the Lakes. He may have had whisky in his veins, but why not an English distillery in the Lake District? He could tick off all the requirements: water, land, old farm buildings suitable for conversion, potential visitor numbers; but most importantly it felt right.
This is a good place to make whisky. It is a good place to be. It changes perspective, gets into your bones.
Embedded in people's lives
People stay in the Lakes because that ‘truth’ speaks to them, but they have to eat, and support their families. A distillery becomes part of a community, something which is especially important in rural communities where jobs can be hard to find.
Its presence ripples out across the region. Working in distillation, maturation, guiding tourists, serving food, delivering goods. It embeds itself in people’s lives. The distillery now employs over 40 local people, and has opened up new career possibilities: distiller, chef, warehouseman. It becomes part of the glue which deepens a sense of place.
All distilleries have a creation story, that moment of inspiration, some might say madness, when someone decides that they need to make whisky.
Paul Currie may have had whisky in his veins, but why should he stick to Scotland? It is not only about the 'why' but also about the 'why not'.
A place to call home
Five miles north-west of the popular tourist destination of Keswick and just one hundred and fifty yards from an excellent water supply, Paul identified a disused, broken down dairy farm that looked promising. A barn with enough height was in place to accommodate the vitally important stills and the grounds housed perfectly proportioned buildings.
The start of our journey
Made of beautiful local stone and slate, the original farmstead featured all the architectural detail and splendour of this period of Victorian prosperity.
This 160-year old building had stood derelict for over 20 years, and we began a project to breathe new life to them. Meticulous renovation began. Replacement materials were sourced from within the Lake District National Park, which was the guiding principle behind the whole renovation. Slate and cobbles were brought from south Cumbria, sandstone was sourced from near Penrith. The original Westmorland green slates were carefully stripped from the roof, cleaned up and re-used.
The quatrefoil is an ancient Celtic symbol representing faith, hope, luck and love. During the extensive renovation, 26 depictions of the quatrefoil symbol were unearthed in the original masonry and are preserved as a daily reminder of our core beliefs.
These beliefs; faith, hope, luck and love are our compass points, traversing the state of the art technology, advanced scientific thinking and boundless creativity, leading us to new heights of exceptional flavour.
In the early days...
Explore the original restoration and installation of the stills.
The early days
Take a trip back in time to March 2013, and enjoy a tour around the site before the restoration process had begun with our founder, Paul Currie.
Paul Currie gives you an update on the progress made on site in April 2014.