Are you curious to know about the people behind the beers you buy? Or perhaps you want to know what inspires brewers to brew and beer bloggers to blog? Our “Q&A” posts are a light hearted way of getting to know people working in, and connected to, the beer and alcohol industry.
Today’s post features The English Whisky Co. The St. George’s distillery is based in Roudham, Norfolk, their distillery tours are one of Norfolk’s top visitor attractions. The distillery was designed and built by the Nelstrop family for the specific purpose of producing the very finest English Malt Whisky.
Who are you/what do you do? I’m Andrew Nelstrop, owner of The English Whisky co.
When did your love affair with whisky begin and what inspired you to pursue your line of work? My father had a love of whisky that gave him a lifetime ambition to build and open England’s 1st registered whisky distillery. I really didn’t like whisky at all when he proposed building a distillery, I think I was too young and very happy drinking beer and wine. My love affair with whisky has been a slow burn but once I found out there were some malts I liked, the passion grew and now I am a dedicated whisky nerd, with a particular fondness for whisky finished in a rum cask.
What is the inspiration behind the name and logo? The name “The English” was a fairly simple decision to make back when we started there were no other English Whisky distilleries. Our logo has recently changed from George and the Dragon to our distillery building. Too many people thought the dragon was welsh and St George looked a little lost without his dragon.
What have you found the hardest thing to master in the distillation process? The hardest part is reminding yourself that you cannot sell all of your whisky at 10years old, some has to be saved to become older. It takes a lot of discipline to say no to an order when you can see the liquid sitting there but if I give in there will never be any 25yr old to try.
Are there any other distilleries which have influenced you? The layout of our distillery was influenced by Glenburgie distillery when it was re-built. We loved the fact that everything is on one floor – so visitors can really see the whole production and understand how the process works.
Where do you see, or hope to see, the distillery in 5 years’ time? Launching a new 15yr old and seeing the new distillery bistro up, running and full!
Looking ahead, what new products can we expect from the English Whisky Co? We will finish our re-brand over the coming year and the result will be fewer whiskies but more availability of those whiskies. This year will see some single cask releases and also 2 new release under our Norfolk Whisky range. The Norfolk range is very special in so much as it uses many types of grains rather than just barley giving a fabulous and different flavour to our single malt whiskys. New releases will be “Malt n Rye” this spring and “Parched” this autumn
What does a typical work day look like for you? I normally get to the distillery around 7:45 and always feel lazy as the distillers have probably been in since 5am! I am currently overseeing the building of a new whisky shop and bistro, so am spending too much time managing that and not enough time taking to customers. It is also my job to visit customers all over the world but I love flying, so would never consider it a chore, although as a fairly new father there is less of a desire to be away for long.
What advice would you give to someone new to the world of whisky and wanting to learn about the different styles? Good whisky is not cheap so it pays to find a pub / bar with a good range. If you are not sure about whisky – add water! If you still think it is strong – add some more. I am a fan of water in whisky as it releases flavour and reduces the heat.
What was your first drink and where were you when you had it? Really? Same as everyone I think…. stealing the dregs of wine from my parent’s glasses I guess. The first time I drank properly, I should think would have been some cheap cider in the woods at school. Not very glamorous.
What drink can you no longer face having had one too many? I haven’t lost the love for any drink due to excessive intake but I struggle to find much love for Tequila.
What is the silliest thing you’ve done whilst drunk? Whilst I have found that skiing and a drink or two go together very well, it seems excess alcohol can cause minor coordination problems, which in turn can lead to a lot of bruises!
Thanks to Andrew and The English Whisky Co for chatting to us.