Norwich whisky capital of England claims boosted

Norwich's claim to be the whisky capital of England received a major boost over the Christmas period after recording record sales.

Despite one of the worst winters on record, which meant that some Scottish whisky deliveries never arrived in Norwich, staff at the Swan Lane-based Norwich Whisky Shop, off London Street, broke all records and was a staggering 15per cent up year on year.

The shop is one of 16 Whisky Shops in Scotland and England and posted the seventh best results in the group despite being the smallest shop.

Ian Bankier, chief executive of The Whisky Shop, the largest whisky only specialist in the UK, said: 'I know Norwich likes to claim that it's England's whisky capital because it has the only English distillery down the road and two of the world's biggest whisky magazines, Whisky Magazine and our own Whiskeria are based in the city, but it would seem whisky sales in Norwich this year would tend to back that up.

'I regularly travel around the country visiting shops in the group, and certainly know of no other place in England with such a passion for whisky, with several pubs responding to the interest in the provenance and heritage of Scotch malt whisky in particular by holding whisky tasting events.'

There are about 10 pubs in the area regularly holding whisky tasting events, including the Trafford Arms, with the latest to start promoting them the Maid's Head Hotel in Norwich.

The hotel is hosting a Burns dinner, complete with piper, tomorrow night and will be hosting a public whisky tasting at the start of March.

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Dominic Roskrow, whisky writer and Whisky Shop consultant, said he is not surprised by the figures which show that whisky is proving to be a popular drink in Norwich.

He said: 'Gone are the days when the only people who drank whisky were old men. A new generation are discovering whisky and passing on their findings to other enthusiasts through the internet. A large number of women are not only trying whisky, but are attending tastings to find out more.'

Last year St George's single malt whisky, produced in Norfolk, was selected as one of 101 to try before you die in a book of the same name by author Ian Buxton.

St George's Distillery, which houses The English Whisky Company, based at Roudham, near East Harling was praised of its 'excellent barley' and 'first rate equipment'. The distillery, which began distilling at the end of 2006, has the distinction of being the first whisky distillery south of the border.