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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: The Oxford Artisan Distillery:

The Nightcap: 19 October

Another work week is coming to a close, which means it’s time to open up a treasure chest of booze news – it’s The Nightcap! It’s Friday once again, folks….

Another work week is coming to a close, which means it’s time to open up a treasure chest of booze news – it’s The Nightcap!

It’s Friday once again, folks. We’re certain many of you will be taking this weekend as a chance to continue working on those intricate Halloween costumes (I’m going to be dressed as a hogshead this year – still lots of coopering and hot glue application to be done). However, we’re also sure that there are a few of you with plenty of space in your plans to swot up on the latest booze news, which is exactly what The Nightcap is here for!

As ever, let’s have a gander at the goings-on with the MoM blog this week. Annie chatted to the folks from the UK’s first alcohol-free brewery and had a nose around Bache-Gabrielsen’s cellars. Henry took a trip down the Old Fashioned memory lane and looked to the future of Irish distillers. Adam wrapped up warm with a selection of toasty tipples perfect for autumnal nights. We also announced the winners of our VIP BenRiach trips – congratulations to the winners once again!

Now on with the news! Although it starts on a sombre note this week.

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The Oxford Artisan Distillery: Medieval grains and steam engine stills

Oxford’s first (legal) distillery is here, and it’s taking a pioneering approach to sustainable spirits. We visited The Oxford Artisan Distillery to find out why the team began distilling gin,…

Oxford’s first (legal) distillery is here, and it’s taking a pioneering approach to sustainable spirits. We visited The Oxford Artisan Distillery to find out why the team began distilling gin, whisky, absinthe and more using medieval grains.

Though it officially opened at the end of July, it could be said that the essence of The Oxford Artisan Distillery dates back centuries. Established by former music mogul Tom Nicolson, the “grain-to-glass” operation is the first of its kind to distill spirits using grains that were commonplace in Britain in the Middle Ages – before the rise of industrial agriculture and the monocultures grown today – all hailing from four organic farms within a 50-mile radius of Oxford.

It’s a process that could only be possible with the know-how of Canadian archaeo-botanist John Letts, who set about meticulously reviving these historic crops in 1993 after he was gifted a bag of medieval wheat rescued from a thatched cottage. He started with “a handful, because the seeds were dead”, and initially cultivated the grain to develop high quality straw for thatchers, before turning to flour and finally – after a chance meeting with Nicholson at a farmers’ market – booze.

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