A Dullingham distillery is planning a major expansion after its rum was named the best in the world.
The English Spirit Distillery in Brinkley Road beat off stiff competition to take the gold medal at the second annual Rum Fest held in Hong Kong last month when its Old Salt Rum, came top out of 70 entries including from well-known rum maker Bacardi.
“The companies that we beat, those are brands worth up to billions of pounds,” said John Walters, who heads up the seven strong company which already supplies gin to the Queen and cucumber spirit to the Marco Pierre White chain of restaurants, as well as exporting to Italy and China.
“I think the gold medal will be massive for us. It will represent very significant growth for us and that is just what this economy needs. A British manufacturer, one of the rarest of all things, exporting to the world’s biggest economy.”
The company uses a traditional method to make its rum, with black treacle imported from the Caribbean distilled three times in copper pot stills.
“Old Salt Rum is a big, generous and incredibly smooth rum. The only rum ever-made in the UK,” said Mr Walters.
“Smoothness is a key thing for spirits. We wanted to go back to how rum was made a couple of hundreds of years ago because they had an awful lot of flavour.
Mr Walters, a former biochemistry student of Oxford University, set up the company in late 2008 with Anthony Winterbourne.
Such is the success it has enjoyed since then that it is now looking at establishing another site by the end of next year which will employ up to 50 people.
Mr Walters would not be drawn on where that might be, but did disclose it would be Cambridgeshire.
“We are growing at such a rate that we are planning a new site with a tourist centre, a cafe and orchards,” he said.