Cotswolds Distillery logo, Established 2014.

Cotswolds Distillery

  • United Kingdom
  • Spirits International Prestige Awards: Platinum medal in 2015, World Gin Awards: Awarded World’s Best London Dry Gin in 2016.
Phone Number
  • +441451820694
  • 2, The Forge, High St, Bourton-on-the-Water GL54 2AN, United Kingdom

Cotswolds distillery entrance with garden and barrels.

History of Cotswolds Distillery

The Cotswolds Distillery, located in the picturesque region of Cotswolds, England, is renowned for its exceptional artisanal spirits, particularly its whisky. Founded in 2014, this distillery has quickly made a name for itself in the world of craft distilling, producing a range of high-quality, award-winning spirits that reflect the beauty and tradition of the Cotswolds.

Founding and Vision

The Cotswolds Distillery was founded by Daniel Szor, a former hedge fund manager with a passion for whisky. Szor, who had spent years collecting and appreciating fine whiskies, decided to turn his dream into reality by establishing his own distillery. Inspired by the scenic beauty and rich agricultural heritage of the Cotswolds, Szor aimed to create spirits that would capture the essence of the region.

Construction and Setup

Construction of the distillery began in 2013, and by September 2014, the Cotswolds Distillery officially opened its doors. The distillery was designed to combine traditional methods with modern technology, ensuring the production of top-notch spirits. Key to its setup were the two copper pot stills, handmade by Forsyths, the world-renowned Scottish coppersmiths. These stills, named Mary and Janis, play a crucial role in the distillation process.

First Whisky Production

The first Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky was distilled in 2014, marking a significant milestone for the distillery. The whisky, made from 100% locally grown barley, is mashed and fermented on-site, then distilled and matured in a combination of first-fill bourbon barrels and specially shaved, toasted, and recharred red wine casks. This careful selection of casks contributes to the whisky’s distinctive flavor profile, characterized by rich fruit, honey, and spice notes.

Expansion and Innovations

Since its inception, the Cotswolds Distillery has expanded its range of products to include not only whisky but also gin, liqueurs, and other spirits. Their flagship product, the Cotswolds Dry Gin, is made with a blend of nine carefully selected botanicals, including local lavender and bay leaves. This gin has garnered numerous awards for its exceptional quality and unique flavor.

In addition to expanding its product range, the distillery has invested in state-of-the-art equipment and processes to enhance production efficiency and sustainability. For example, they have implemented a heat recovery system to reduce energy consumption and are committed to using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.

Community and Tourism

The distillery is deeply rooted in the local community and has become a popular tourist destination. Visitors to the Cotswolds Distillery can take guided tours of the facility, learning about the distillation process and the history of the distillery. The tours also include tastings of their various spirits, offering a comprehensive and immersive experience.

Commitment to Quality and Sustainability

Quality and sustainability are at the heart of the Cotswolds Distillery’s operations. They source their barley from local farms, ensuring the freshest ingredients and supporting the local economy. The distillery also practices sustainable production methods, such as recycling waste products and minimizing water usage.

Awards Won by Cotswolds Distillery

Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky:

  • World Whiskies Awards: Named Best English Single Malt and received multiple gold medals.
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition: Gold medal for the Founder’s Choice Single Malt Whisky.
  • Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible: Scored 94/100 for its new-make spirit, earning a ‘Liquid Gold’ award.
  • ADI International Spirits Competition: Awards for its Harvest Series Flaxen Vale Single Malt Whisky​.

Gin Awards

Cotswolds Dry Gin:

  • World Gin Awards: Awarded World’s Best London Dry Gin in 2016.
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition: Gold medals.
  • Spirits International Prestige Awards: Platinum medal in 2015.
  • Berlin World Spirits Competition: Multiple gold medals.

Distillery and Tour Awards

  • Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award: Winner in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
  • VisitEngland: ‘Best Told Story’ award in 2021.
  • Drinks International: Best Distillery Tour in the Distillery Experience Awards 2016.
  • The Spirits Business: Distillery Master award for Consumer Experience.

Cotswolds Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, the Cotswolds Distillery offers an immersive tour experience that provides visitors with a unique insight into the art of crafting award-winning spirits. The tour is designed to be both educational and enjoyable, making it a popular destination for whisky and gin enthusiasts.

Tour Highlights

The tour begins with a warm welcome and a short introductory video that highlights the story of the Cotswolds Distillery. This video provides an overview of the distillery’s history, the founders’ vision, and the distillation process​.

  1. Distillery Tour
    • Visitors are guided through the distillery, where they can see the traditional copper pot stills and learn about the distillation process. The tour includes a visit to the cask warehouse, where the spirits mature, providing an authentic experience of the whisky-making process​.
    • The distillery features a 0.5 tonne mash tun and eight 2,500-litre washbacks. The whisky is distilled in two copper pot stills, Mary and Janis, which are integral to producing the distillery’s high-quality spirits​.
  2. Tasting Session
    • One of the highlights of the tour is the tasting session, where visitors can sample a range of the distillery’s spirits, including their renowned single malt whisky and various gins. The tasting is guided by knowledgeable staff who provide detailed explanations of each spirit’s unique characteristics and flavor profiles.
    • For visitors who prefer not to drink, the distillery offers takeaway samples to enjoy later.
  3. Visitor Experience and Amenities:
    • The distillery ensures that all visitors have a comfortable experience. The tour involves approximately 45 minutes of walking and standing, but accommodations are made for those with accessibility needs, allowing them to view the distillery from the ground floor​.
    • In addition to the standard tour, the distillery offers a Tour & Tasting with lunch option, which includes a delicious meal paired with their spirits for a more comprehensive experience.

Special Events and Offers

  • Special Tours: The distillery occasionally hosts special tours and events, such as the Cotswolds Distillery’s 10th birthday party, which includes live music, diverse bars, food stalls, and unique shopping experiences​.
  • Gift Vouchers: Tour experiences can be purchased as gifts, making them an excellent option for special occasions and celebrations​.
  • Crowdfunding Success: The distillery has successfully raised funds through crowdfunding to enhance the visitor experience, including expanding the visitor center​.

Booking and Additional Information

  • Tours can be booked online through the distillery’s official website. Prices for the standard Tour & Tasting start at £25 per person, with options for lunch-inclusive tours available from £37 per person​.
  • Visitors are encouraged to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, to ensure availability.

Flask & Barrel Review of Cotswolds Distillery

As a whiskey collector who’s visited countless distilleries, I have to say that the Cotswolds Distillery stands out as one of my favorites. I’d give it a solid 4.7 out of 5. Here’s why.

First off, the location is just stunning. Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, the distillery is surrounded by beautiful, rolling countryside that makes the visit worth it before you even step inside. The scenery alone sets the tone for a great experience.

The tour itself was top-notch. From the moment we walked in, we were greeted warmly and given a brief introduction to the distillery’s history and what makes their spirits unique. The guide was knowledgeable and clearly passionate about their craft, which always makes a big difference. They walked us through the distillation process in detail, and I have to admit, seeing their copper stills up close was pretty impressive.

One of the highlights for me was the cask warehouse. There’s something special about standing among rows of aging barrels, each one holding the potential to become a great whiskey. The guide explained how the choice of casks affects the flavor, and we got to see firsthand how the whiskey matures over time.

The tasting session at the end was the cherry on top. We got to sample a variety of their spirits, including their flagship Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky and their award-winning Cotswolds Dry Gin. Each one had its own unique character, but they all shared a high quality that’s clearly the result of careful craftsmanship. I especially enjoyed the single malt, which had a wonderful balance of fruity and spicy notes.

The only reason I’m not giving a perfect score is because I felt the tour could have included a bit more hands-on interaction. Maybe a chance to try some of the blending or bottling processes would have been cool. But honestly, that’s just me being picky.

All in all, the Cotswolds Distillery offers an excellent tour experience that any whiskey lover would appreciate. If you’re ever in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit. Cheers to great whiskey and beautiful places!

What To Do Nearby Cotswolds Distillery

Hidcote Manor Garden (8.6 miles): Explore this world-famous Arts and Crafts-inspired garden, known for its intricate design and diverse plant species. Each garden room offers a unique atmosphere and scenic views, making it a must-visit for garden enthusiasts.

Bourton-on-the-Water (16 miles): Often called the “Venice of the Cotswolds,” this charming village features picturesque stone bridges over the River Windrush. Visit the Dragonfly Maze and Birdland Park and Gardens for a delightful day out.

Stow-on-the-Wold (13 miles): This historic market town is perfect for antique shopping and exploring local history. Don’t miss St. Edward’s Church with its iconic north door, flanked by ancient yew trees, rumored to have inspired Tolkien’s “Doors of Durin.”

Broadway Tower (15 miles): A unique folly on the Cotswold Ridge, offering stunning panoramic views and rich architectural history. It’s a great spot for hiking and enjoying the scenic landscape.

Cotswold Farm Park (18 miles): Ideal for families, this farm park offers interactive experiences with rare breed animals, wildlife walks, and adventure playgrounds. It’s both educational and entertaining for visitors of all ages.

Blenheim Palace (24 miles): A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace boasts Baroque architecture, expansive gardens, and historical exhibitions. It’s an unforgettable experience steeped in history and beauty.

Westonbirt Arboretum (30 miles): Home to over 18,000 trees and shrubs, this arboretum is perfect for nature lovers. The Old Arboretum and Silk Wood areas offer scenic trails and seasonal events, making it a year-round attraction.

Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens (25 miles): Get up close with a variety of animals, including giraffes, rhinos, and lemurs, in this expansive park. It’s a wonderful place for a family day out, with beautiful gardens and diverse wildlife.

Sudeley Castle (23 miles): Explore the rich history of this castle, including exhibitions on its royal connections and beautifully maintained gardens. Sudeley Castle is unique for having a queen, Katherine Parr, buried on its grounds.

Highgrove Gardens (30 miles): Open to the public between April and October, these gardens are the private residence of King Charles III and The Queen Consort. They offer an inspirational visit with beautifully maintained landscapes and horticultural variety.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Cotswolds Distilling Company?

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham: The Wild Rabbit, rated 4.8 stars, offers a cozy atmosphere with roaring fires and Egyptian cotton bedlinen in their rooms. Their restaurant serves seasonal, Daylesford-farmed produce, providing a quintessential posh English pub experience. For more information and reservations.

The Slaughters Manor House, Lower Slaughter: The Slaughters Manor House, with a 4.7-star rating, is located in one of England’s prettiest villages. It offers a refined dining experience with a menu that celebrates the finest regional produce, set in an elegant and relaxing atmosphere.

Lumière Restaurant, Cheltenham: Lumière Restaurant, also rated 4.7 stars, is known for its innovative dishes and elegant dining experience. It focuses on high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, perfect for a special night out. 

What hotels are near Cotswolds Distillery?

The Old Stocks Inn, Stow-on-the-Wold: The Old Stocks Inn is a boutique hotel situated in a charming 17th-century coaching inn. It offers stylish, contemporary rooms that blend modern comforts with historical charm. The address is The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham GL54 1AF, UK. You can book at +44 1451 830666

The Feathered Nest Country Inn, Nether Westcote: Located in the picturesque village of Nether Westcote, The Feathered Nest Country Inn offers luxurious accommodations with stunning views of the Evenlode Valley. The address is Nether Westcote, Chipping Norton OX7 6SD, UK. You can call for reservation at +44 1993 833030. 

Burleigh Court Hotel, Stroud: Burleigh Court Hotel is a 4-star boutique manor house hotel that exudes Cotswold country charm with a touch of luxury. It features beautiful gardens, a wellness area with a hot tub and plunge pool, and an award-winning restaurant. The address is Burleigh, Stroud GL5 2PF, UK. You can book a call at +44 1453 883804.