Paul Currie is a man with whisky in his blood. Paul's father was MD of Chivas Seagram and one of his first memories, aged about six, was being taken around a distillery and becoming entranced by the gleaming copper stills. This early fascination led in 1995 to Paul and his father setting up the much acclaimed Arran Distillery.
In 2010, while on holiday with his family in the Lake District National Park, he realised that this was ‘perfect whisky country’ - a magnificent landscape, the lakes, the peaty foothills, the pure air and water.
And Paul's dream of The Lakes Distillery was born.
Turning dreams into reality is no easy task. When your dream is to create a world-class whisky distillery, ‘from scratch’ within a National Park, then you really do have your work cut out.
Five miles north-west of the popular tourist destination of Keswick and just one hundred and fifty yards from an excellent water supply, Paul found a disused, broken down dairy farm that actually looked quite promising. A barn with enough height was (mostly) in place to accommodate the vitally important stills and the grounds housed just the right amount of perfectly proportioned buildings.
Seeing past the dereliction, the distillery team knew this Victorian model farm at Setmurthy had just about everything going for it. Made of beautiful local stone and slate, the buildings featured all the architectural detail and splendour of this period of Victorian prosperity. The setting was perfect too. Close to Bassenthwaite Lake, surrounded by majestic Lakeland peaks and fells, nestled in woods and surrounded by rolling fields of vivid green.
This 160-year old building had stood empty for over 20 years, and we gave new life to them. Meticulous renovation began. Replacement materials had to be sourced from within the National Park. 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 scene was set. Now to bring our distillery to life.