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What Is A Craft Distillery? 

what is a craft distillery

Craft distilleries are small-scale and fuelled by passion, innovation, and the desire to create high-quality spirits for others to enjoy.

Over the last decade, there has been a huge surge in craft distilleries in the UK. This rise has created countless artisanal spirits that celebrate local botanicals and heritage. 

Characteristics Of A Craft Distillery 

While there can be a lot of variation between different distillers, there are a few common threads that link them all together.

These include: 

1. Small-Scale Production

Typically, craft distilleries produce small batches of spirits. This is because they have a hands-on approach that prioritises quality. This small scale allows the distillers to ensure each bottle meets their standards, that said The Henley Distillery currently has the capacity to produce 350,000 bottles per year so although the batches are small, the potential is huge

2. Using Artisanal Methods

One of the hallmarks of craft distilling is using traditional methods, for example, copper stills or oak barrel ageing. The techniques used hold great importance as they contribute to the distinct flavour profile of the spirits. 

3. Authenticity

Craft distilleries are transparent about their processes. More often than not they will openly share information about their distilling location, processes, ingredients, bottling location and process, as well as their ageing process. The pride they take in making their spirits means they are more than happy to open their doors and share it all with the world. 

4. Sourcing Local Ingredients

Many craft distilleries are careful to source local ingredients such as botanicals or grains for their spirits. This not only helps to support the local economy but can also give the spirit regional character. 

5. Personal Touch 

Finally, there is a distinct personal touch with spirits from craft distilleries. They have a story to tell. Every bottle has been hand-crafted by a passionate team (or individual) who ensures each spirit is a true reflection of their vision. This is something that large-scale productions often lack. 

Henleys team photo

What’s The Difference Between A Craft Distillery and A Commercial Distillery?

The main differences between craft and commercial distilleries are the scale and approach. 

Commercial distilleries operate on a much larger scale meaning they often use modern machinery and techniques to help meet these demands. 

This is in contrast to craft distilleries that have smaller operations and will usually use traditional methods and hand-craft their spirits. Craft distilleries also have more freedom to experiment with flavours, and unique ingredients and often offer limited-edition releases based on available botanicals etc. 

Why Choose Craft Spirits? 

The rise in craft distilleries means consumers now have a much wider variety of choices. This has undoubtedly enriched the spirit market and has seen craft distilleries proudly represent the UK’s rich distilling heritage. 

The beautiful thing about supporting craft distilleries is it helps to boost local economies, create jobs, and keep distilling traditions alive. 

Summary Of The Craft Distillery Movement 

Although craft distilleries are difficult to define, they encapsulate passion, tradition, and innovation. There’s an authenticity that comes from knowing who has created the spirits, and the process they’ve gone through. Craft distilleries offer unique spirits and help to drive the industry in a new and exciting direction.