Barworks team plan new London distillery and bar

Alex Wolpert and Jamie BaxterBarworks is to open a new cocktail bar alongside the first new distillery producing gins, vodka and whisky in east London for over a century.

Barworks operations manager Alex Wolpert (pictured left) is developing the distillery with Jamie Baxter (right), former master distiller at Chase in Herefordshire and City of London Distillery in Fleet Street.

Launching this April, East London Liquor Company will be on the southern edge of Victoria Park in a former glue factory in Bow Wharf.

It will house its own cocktail bar where drinkers will be able to see the distillery room through a large glass wall.

A cocktail list is being put together for the bar by Piyush Chavda, head mixologist for Barworks’ three 5cc cocktails bars in Exmouth Market, Bethnal Green Road and Farringdon.

The new distillery will produce a range of high-quality crafted spirits from two copper stills, at 450 to 650 litres a time, including two super-premium gins that will celebrate the role that London has played in developing and refining gin since its introduction to the capital in the 17th century.

Alongside these, the distillery will produce a quintessential London dry gin, a smooth artisanal vodka and a whisky that will be aged on site for at least three years.

The East London Liquor Company will also import its own rum from Demerara Distillers in Guyana in the Caribbean.

The distillery will also offer intimate tours, spirit tastings and “make your own batch” sessions with Jamie, who helped to launch City of London Distillery just over a year ago.

East London Liquor Company is the first producer to open a distillery in the east of London since the Lea Valley Distillery, where the Olympic Park now stands, closed in the early 20th century.

Alex said: “With the launch of East London Liquor Company, we want to revive east London’s rich legacy of spirits manufacturing. The craft spirits trade went through a huge and successful resurgence in the USA, and now the UK is experiencing a similar renaissance, with several city distilleries popping up across the capital over the past 10 years.

“The East London Liquor Company distillery isn’t opening until April but we already have numerous bars lined up to take our gins, vodka, rum and whisky – London clearly has an appetite for quality and locally produced spirits.”

Jamie added: “The opening of the East London Liquor Company marks a really exciting step for London’s craft spirit industry. When we open in April, we will be the only London distillery producing and importing four premium spirits and the first to bring the industry back to the East End – where it all started for English spirits.”

Darren Rook and head distiller Andrew MacLeod Smith launched the new London Distillery Company in Battersea, south London, last year with the release of Dodd’s Gin.

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