Shropshire Star

World Whisky Day: We meet Shropshire's whisky innovators as the world celebrates a wee dram

It's a drink that can be used to celebrate, to commiserate, to toast good fortune or just as something to warm up a cold evening.

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Whisky is a drink which conjures up images of sitting in a comfortable chair or at a bar in a rural town in Scotland with hundreds of bottles to hand, full of flavour and aroma and something that provides a warming sensation.

It's also one of the biggest exports to come out of the country, with £2.9 billion of exports from Scotch whisky alone coming out of Scotland and travelling all over the world to be enjoyed in countries like the USA, India and Japan.

World Whisky Day, which happens on the third Saturday of May every year, is a celebration of the drink, with people all over the world invited to raise a glass of their favourite and toast the art of the drink.

Ask anyone where whisky is known for being made and the most common answers would be Scotland for Scotch, Ireland, the USA for rye and bourbon and even Japan for its unique blend of whiskies.

One country where whisky production isn't as well known, but is growing exponentially, is England.

Whisky production in the country had seen a real boom in recent years, with 45 distilleries now up and running from the top of Northumberland all the way down to the bottom of Cornwall and the English Whisky Guild set up for English whisky to be recognised globally as a respected choice for whisky drinkers.

Within the West Midlands, there are four active distilleries making and selling whisky - in the Black Country, Staffordshire and Shropshire, all at different stages of production.

Each bottle carries the details of when it was made and what cask it was in. Photo: Henstone Distillery

In Shropshire, the Henstone Distillery in Trewern has been producing and selling whisky since 2021, while the Ludlow Distillery has been producing its single malt English Whisky since 2018.

Henstone is a place with pedigree, having won a gold medal at the International World Whisky Awards for its three-year ex-bourbon casked matured whisky.

We spoke to head of sales Henry Teller about what made the whisky so successful.

"We're not a massive conglomerate, so we release all our whiskies as single cask releases, which means that every batch is slightly different and we predominantly use ex-bourbon casks.

"Some examples include Buffalo Trace, Jack Daniels and Jim Bean and that means that every distillation has its own distinct flavour and we mature our single malts in those casks.

"We also detail our batches on each bottle, so if you go to our website, you'll be able to go on and see which cask it was in and where your bottle came from, so it's simple as that."