Developers delighted by distillery feedback
Plans to open a whisky distillery in Wooler continue to generate local support and excitement.
More than 2,000 people visited a two-week consultation exhibition, with many more visiting a stand at the Glendale Show to learn more about the project.
In addition, in the region of 750 people left comments, pledging their support, praising the proposals, and looking forward to seeing it become a reality.
The support for the Ad Gefrin Distillery has been so enthusiastic that the Ferguson family have announced that they will open a permanent project exhibition on Wooler Market Place from October.
Eileen Ferguson, helping to lead the project, said: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the level of support and enthusiasm that our concept has received, and we hope to take this project forward together as a community to definitively put Wooler on the map as a place which produces very fine whisky and a major tourism destination.
“On behalf of everyone involved in the Ad Gefrin Distillery, I would like to say a heart-felt thank you to the people of Wooler and everyone who we have met with for their unparalled support.”
This overwhelming enthusiasm provides Ad Gefrin with a firm foundation as it heads towards its next major landmark – the submission for planning permission.
It is hoped the distillery and visitor centre will open its doors by 2020. As time is needed to lay down a malt whisky, the full release of the Ad Gefrin Single Malt is not expected until 2028.
To be located in the former Redpath’s Yard on South Road, the distillery is set to become both a major visitor attraction and key local employer, helping to reinvigorate the local economy, retain young people in its workforce, and regenerate a site which has been disused for over 20 years.
Chris Ferguson said: “The passion that we have seen from everyone for us to create something really exciting and innovative in Wooler has been tremendous.
“We are thrilled by the encouragement we have received and all the memories and historic information people have shared about the site and town.
“We are already building up a tremendous archive of material which will be invaluable in sharing the story of our area as we send our whisky around the world.”
Alan Ferguson said: “The response has not just been coming in from the people of Wooler but also across the whole North East region.
He added: “It is a long process to get to the final product but rest assured, we are doing all we can to keep moving this plan forward.”
He continued: “Whilst we obviously believe in the project, to get such overwhelming support wherever we go is much more than we envisaged at the outset.
“It was even the topic of conversation at recent North East Chamber events at both Durham Cathedral and Wynyard Hall, both quite a distance from Wooler.
“It is heart-warming that the whole region is getting behind this exciting project.”
Ad Gefrin takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon palace below Yeavering Bell. Both names take their meaning from the “hill of the goats”, which still roam the slopes today. The site on the banks of the Glen was a place of gathering and community. The new distillery in Wooler aims to become a similar meeting spot in the 21st Century.