The Lakes Distillery is no longer the stuff of dreams. On the 11th November 2014, this particular dream became a reality.
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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.
The scene was set. Now to bring our distillery to life.
The 'quatrefoil' adorns the farm buildings in over 30 locations. Simply four overlapping circles arranged around a common centre point. The Latin root of the word means 'four leaves'.
The quatrefoil was embraced by Victorian Architects during the Gothic Revival. Said to represent the four Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Victorian architects sought to give the quatrefoil the more secular meaning; Faith, Hope, Luck and Love.
This seemed to fit our story to perfection.
First of all, we had to believe we could do it. Believe we had the skills and know-how. Believe we could bring the right team together to make it all happen. Faith is what carries you through.
At times when the path ahead is unclear, hope is at hand. When cold hard logic says “no”, it is the human heart and the hope held therein that says “yes”. Faith and hope stand shoulder to shoulder.
When you have faith, we can hope. Luck however, chooses you. Luck in small doses or luck in large dollops. If so blessed, (and we at the Lakes Distillery most certainly have been!) you accept it and thank your lucky stars.
Our whisky is made with passion, therefore our whisky is made with love. Through hard work and endeavour, a good whisky can be ‘made’… However, it is the warm glow of love that makes a whisky ‘great’.
Taking our lead from the Victorians, we have fully embraced the quatrefoil. Our present-day architects have built it into the very fabric of our distillery. We have even adopted 'Faith, Hope, Luck and Love' as our unique toast for our eagerly awaited Single Malt.