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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Cotswolds English Whisky Distillery

The Cotswolds Distilling Company was born out of a dream to produce ultra-premium small batch whisky and other spirits in one of the most beautiful region in the world. located in Stourton near Chipping Norton, the distillery is due to begin distillation summer 2014, with the first limited edition batch of Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky ready for release in 2017.


Founder Daniel Szor, born and raised in New York City, However has spent most of his professional life living in Paris and London, specializing in marketing  It was during his years in Paris that he was first bitten by the whisky bug. Daniel bought his first cask in 2002 at the newly re-opened Bruichladdich distillery on Islay, and watched the distillery grow under the creative and fearless management of James McEwan.


Through Jim, Daniel met Scotsman and Master Distiller, Harry Cockburn, who is now his consultant, friend, mentor and secret whisky weapon. With Harry’s help—and more than four decades of experience—Daniel is building a "wee distillery" (as Harry calls it) that can produce a single malt every bit as good as the neighbours to the north, thus combining his love for fine spirits and his love for this very special region he has come to know over the years since he and his wife purchased an old farmhouse nestled in the green hills of north Oxfordshire.


Across the Atlantic in the U.S., the fast-growing craft distilling phenomenon has taken the spirits industry by storm. Craft, artisan or small batch production of food and drink products has become increasingly popular on both sides of the Atlantic as consumers want to know the provenance of what they buy and, especially, what they consume. In England, small distilleries are only just beginning to enter the artisan market, with most focusing primarily on vodka and gin mainly because they are quicker to market than the long maturing times that whiskies require..


However, a strong surge in demand for brown spirits, and in particular malt whisky, has created an opportunity for those who can create high quality spirits that have regional appeal. Making an ideal for craft whisky production


CotswoldsDistilling will use traditional distillation techniques and top quality local and organic ingredients to produce ultra-premium artisan spirits worthy of the region’s official designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


As part of its  focus on expressing a “distinctive regional character” across the range, the whisky will be made using organic Cotswold barley. This will be malted at Warminster Maltings before being mashed on-site and distilled in Scottish-made copper pot stills. The spirit will then be aged in American oak, as well as Sherry and Bourbon casks and expects to produce 120,000 bottles of whisky a year.


Unlike competitors, the physical premises will be intentionally designed with visitors in mind, particularly tourists seeking an up-scale experience in a rural, understated setting. The region is beautiful, yet far from saturated in terms of "things to do"—a key ingredient in attracting people to visit, buy their products, and spread the word.


The Distillery

Distillation will be centred around the flagship single malt whisky which will be un-peated and offered in two flavour profiles designed to emphasize the Cotswolds’ rich and historic terroir: the honey and vanilla notes of oak-aged barley spirit and the rich sweetness and fruitiness imparted by Spanish sherry casks.


In addition to the single malt whisky, the range will include

vatted blend malt whisky;

whisky & cream (akin to Baileys);

fortified sherry;


and a range of unique barrel-aged fruit brandies and liqueurs.


They also plan to innovative whisky expressions by using alternative grains such as rye and wheat. Rye is a particularly appealing addition as interest in this is very strong worldwide and there is no English-made rye whisky currently in the marketplace. Rye whisky features the distinctly spicy and exciting nose that is typical of high-quality rye spirit. The proposed branding concept, “Traitors Ford Rye”, originates from a location near Daniel’s house which was the scene of pitched battles between Royalist forces and Cromwell’s rebels during the English Civil War. In the spirit of the great whiskies of the American South the name is meant to evoke a “rebel spirit.”




Daniel and his wife, Katia, recently purchased a beautiful 4½-acre rural site on the edge of one of the prettiest and least spoiled Cotswold villages, which they are renting to Cotswold Distilling. The property consists of a large open pasture and sweeping views of the surrounding countryside, as well as two buildings framed in classic Cotswold stone—one will house the distillery and the other will house the gift shop, visitors centre and offices.


The location is less than 30 miles from Oxford, 16 miles from Stratford-Upon-Avon

and only 15-20 minutes from most of the leading Cotswold villages and tourist attractions.

The Cotswolds Distillery

Phillip's Field,

Whichford Road,

Stourton, Shipston-on-Stour

CV36 5HG



+44 (0) 1608 238 533


Distillery under construction No visitor facilities