What a year it has been.
Today marks the sixth anniversary of spirit flowing at The Lakes.
While no one could have predicted events of the past twelve months, one certainty is that we would not have achieved any of the things we have without your support.
Seeing The Lakes community continue to grow as we traversed the challenges of 2020 has been humbling and inspirational in equal measure.
While the compass points of our journey – faith, hope, luck and love – have also played their part, we are delighted to be celebrating our anniversary by looking forward with optimism and backwards with a sense of pride.
Putting the year in perspective.
2020 began well, with news of additional investment in The Lakes and confirmation of an asset-based lending facility bringing a financial first for an English distillery.
Despite turning our lives upside down, amongst the chaos of the coronavirus, there were wonderful things happening as businesses and communities came together to join the fight.
Without the distillation equipment needed to make WHO-approved hand sanitiser, and with our team working from home, we opted to throw all of our computer processing power behind Folding@Home.
As vaccines start to roll out across the UK, the importance of pooling global computing resource together to support vital research into finding vaccines has never been more important.
Zoom became our favourite verb.
The closure to visitors of the distillery and bistro, along with bars and restaurants across the UK and beyond, saw spirit sales fall.
Whisky festivals and tours were cancelled, replaced with online experiences which offered a new level of access to whiskymaker’s from around the world.
Coming together through the power of Zoom, our whiskymaker, Dhavall Gandhi, has enjoyed many evenings tasting, conversing, and sharing a maker’s insight into The Lakes Single Malt, The One Whiskies, and The Quatrefoil Collection, with whisky enthusiasts.
Inviting friends from Milk & Honey (Israel) and Paul John (India) to come together on World Whisky Day, the adoption of new technology opened up opportunities for people to hear unique, personal, and global perspectives on the nuances of whiskymaking.
Unparalleled access to whiskymakers, previously undiscovered.
A collection of exceptional spirits.
With the nation locked-down, online sales and relationships with specialist whisky stores and grocery retailers – Booths, Tesco, Co-op and M&S – have blossomed, as we continue to release new spirits including The Lakes Pink Grapefruit Gin, and The One Orange Wine, Sherry and Port cask finished whiskies.
Unveiling The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.3 as a new and aromatic single malt whisky preceded the launch of our spirits in China, Japan and Singapore.
Simultaneously, we were delighted to be bestowed a series of prestigious international awards for The Lakes Single Malt, with The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.1 and No.2 receiving Gold medals from the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC), the World Whisky Awards, and the International Spirits Challenge (ISC).
An exceptional deviation from our house style, the inaugural Whiskymaker’s Edition was released, showcasing a different personality of The Lakes Single Malt.
An expression of creative freedom, the intrinsic objective of each Edition is to create outstanding flavours.
Designed to be a little more fun, fruity and easy to drink, The Whiskymaker’s Editions Colheita brought exceptionally rare Colheita Port casks into play.
And more limited-editions will follow in 2021, showcasing our whiskymaker’s sense of adventure in maturation and blending.
Investing for the future
Coinciding with being named one of England’s top visitor attractions – and one of only 16 venues to receive a Visit England Gold Award – we completed the extensive renovation of The Whiskymaker’s House in March, enhancing distillery experiences and tastings, including our new Whisky and Chocolate Pairing Tour.
Literally lifting the lid off the distillery in November, we installed eight new washbacks.
The investment gives our whiskymaking team the capacity to triple annual whisky production in 2021, meaning year on year we will lay down more quality single malt whisky stock for future whisky releases.
Looking forward with hope.
After one of our most challenging years, it was an incredible honour to be named as one of ‘1000 Businesses to Inspire Britain‘ and for our whiskymaker, Dhavall Gandhi, to be included as a ‘Game-changer‘ in Walpole’s 50 Most Influential People in British Luxury.
Given the circumstances, we have a lot to be thankful for, not least for your support; and that is why we are delighted that you followed your instinct and chose to join us on our journey.
On behalf of our entire team, we hope you will join us tonight in raising a glass to celebrate our anniversary. We look forward to spending many years creating and enjoying exceptional spirits with you.
Sincerely, thank you,
Nigel Mills & Paul Currie
Co-founders of The Lakes Distillery.