From hedge funds to hedge rows… As a native New Yorker, our Founder Dan Szor fell in love with the Cotswolds during his many family weekends spent escaping the stress of London city living.
Wishing for a more relaxed rural lifestyle with his wife and young daughter, along with the opportunity to create something tangible, Dan wanted to make a permanent move to enjoy the rolling hills and honey-coloured cottages of the Cotswolds.
Harbouring a deep-rooted passion for single malt whisky, Dan also made annual pilgrimages to island of Islay, where he purchased his first cask of whisky from the Bruichladdich Distillery and so caught the distilling bug.
During one of his family weekends in the Cotswolds, Dan woke up to a sunny morning which he spent staring through the window into a neighbouring barley field. Seeing the golden grain waving in the breeze, Dan had a brainwave “I suddenly thought, there’s barley all over the Cotswolds and nobody’s distilling it, let’s be the first!”
Snapping up an old barn conversion in the beautiful village of Stourton, near Shipston-on-Stour in the heart of the Cotswolds, Dan embarked upon his journey to create world-class artisanal spirits using local top-quality ingredients. As an eco-conscientious individual, Dan made the commitment to ensure that all stages, from the growth of raw ingredients, to the malting, mashing and distilling take place right here in the Cotswolds.
We are happy to say that with our barley coming from farms only miles from us, our malt being hand-made less than 50 miles from us and the inclusion of locally foraged botanicals into our Cotswolds Gin, we have kept to that commitment.
The research then began. Dan underwent a stint at Heriot Watt University to sit a dedicated distilling course, he appointed a team of passionate experts, including a brewer, botanist, distiller, master distiller and wood ageing consultant, and visited the Forsyths plant in Rothes to investigate the commissioning of our very own bespoke copper batch pot stills. Here Dan worked closely with Richard Forsyth and his expert team to have our state-of-the-art whisky stills crafted and delivered to their new home in the Cotswolds.
Not content with just whisky, and with a little encouragement from his gin-loving friends, Dan also decided to embark upon a gin-making journey. Meeting with the experts at Arnold Holstein in Germany, he decided upon the build of a tailor-made 500 litre hybrid still. This comprises of an onion head, carter head and column for the production of our flagship Cotswolds Dry Gin (along with some exciting exclusives such as more contemporary style gins, brandies and eaux de vies, along the way)!
And so began their dream to produce world-class artisanal spirits worthy of the Cotswolds official designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.