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How many whisky distilleries are in the South East of England? 

By Steve Charnock
11 May 2022
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Whisky. It's a love-it-or-hate-it top shelf spirit that's enjoyed by millions all across the world. Consider its origins, where it's made, and you'll - likely - conjure up images of remote Scottish or Irish villages.

While much of the planet's best-loved whisky (or 'Scotch') is indeed distilled in Scotland, and Ireland is a huge exporter of 'whiskey', things have moved on of late. Anyone with even a passing interest in the fermented grain mash beverage will know that the USA, Canada and Japan are big players now too.

How about locally? Well, the South East of England may not exactly renowned for its whisky-making culture, but it does have plenty of its own distilleries...

With the help of some very useful data provided by Cooper King Distillery's English Whisky Map, here are the six whisky distilleries in the South East...

The Oxford Artisan Distillery - Headington, Oxford

A scenic 30-minute stroll from Oxford's city centre, The OAD has plenty to occupy you for an afternoon. Look at the farm where the grain is grown, drop in at the bar for a whisky cocktail, then take the distillery tour. This is an authentic, certified and organic "grain-to-glass" distillery at the very top of its game.

Black Bottle Distillery - Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Wallingford

The good folks at Black Bottle cut their boozy teeth making a special 'Oxford gin' called IQ in a black bottle (hence the name, which is not to be confused with 'black bottle whisky, a kind of blended whisky...). After mastering that, the Wallingford distillers turned their hand to whisky.

Their Lord Randolph and Oscar Wilde whiskies, coming in at 45% and a 'robust' 58% volume are popular with those in the know.

Isle of Wight Distillery - Ryde, Isle of Wight

Nearby residents will no doubt know of the IoW Distillery's small batch gins and vodkas, all made with local spring water. What they may not know is that they've got a whisky in the works. It's been legal and drinkable for some two years now, but the distillers in Ryde know that patience is a virtue and that good things come to those that wait...

If you live on the island - or in south Hampshire - and love a wee dram, you'll be waiting for the big announcement soon.

Copper Rivet Distillery - Chatham, Kent

The distillery with easily the most prestigious address and scenic surroundings, Copper Rivet finds itself in an old water pumphouse on Chatham's historic royal dockyard. You can visit the home of the Masthouse whisky's shop, tour the distillery or even eat in the on-site restaurant The Pumproom. All of which are well worth your time.

Anno Distillers - Marden, Tonbridge, Kent

A modest artisanal spirits maker based in the picturesque Kentish countryside, Anno is by no means remote or cut off from public transport. So if you're planning swinging by via train, you'll find the place just a three minute walk from Marden railway station.

Like other distilleries here, Anno started off in the gin revolution and branched out, soon making a whisky in collaboration with the Westerham Brewery. Come for the delicious whisky, stay for Anno Extreme 95, the strongest gin available to buy in the world today.

Canterbury Brewers & Distillers - Canterbury, Kent

If you want to find the Canterbury Brewers & Distillers in the ancient Kent town, head for Stour Street. Don't look for a sign with the name on, though. Look for The Foundry Brew Pub, instead. That's where you'll find it.

It's a family-run establishment that prides itself on creating some of the finest craft beers, gins, rums and whisky in the south of England.