First ever St Albans micro-distillery opening for business in Wheathampstead

PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 June 2018

Left to right: Ashley McCallum and Luke Griggs at the distillery. Picture: Ashley McCallum

Left to right: Ashley McCallum and Luke Griggs at the distillery. Picture: Ashley McCallum

Archant

St Albans’ first micro-distillery launched its own gin, vodka, and American-style moonshine at the Herts County Show.

Ingredients at Black Bridge Distillery. Picture: Ashley McCallumIngredients at Black Bridge Distillery. Picture: Ashley McCallum

Black Bridge Distillery has been set up by three entrepreneurs - engineer Ashley McCallum, his fiancée Stacey Lindley, and their friend Luke Griggs.

A citrus-inspired gin, a clean vodka, and a moonshine recipe distilled in Wheathampstead will now hit the shelves following the weekend’s launch at Redbourn’s showground.

Ashley said he has wanted to start up a micro-distillery for many years, but instead pursued a career as an engineer in the Royal Navy.

However, the arrival of Ashley and Stacey’s now 18-month-old son Nathan McCallum prompted a re-evaluation of their life priorities.

The Still at Black Bridge Distillery. Picture: Ashley McCallumThe Still at Black Bridge Distillery. Picture: Ashley McCallum

Ashley said: “It’s something we have wanted for many years and I got to a point where I work away from home for months at a time and I recently had a little boy, he’s 18 months old now, and that obviously creates a lot of pressure.

“I thought, as my little boy gets older, do I want to go away for months on end and not see him? No, so let’s try to start this up.”

Moonshine, which is un-aged whiskey famous from the American prohibition era, is a personal love of Luke’s.

The Black Bridge Distillery is using a recipe acquired from the United States which is made with white corn.

Ashley believes it is the right timing to open a distillery as gin has been an “explosive force” in the industry over the last six years.

He added: “To be honest it is quite overwhelming.

“We assumed at some point we would hit some obstacle, whether it’s legislation or expense, but everything has added up.

“It’s ridiculous, I can’t articulate the emotion I feel that I will finally be able to have a product that I like to drink and can share with the people of Hertfordshire.”

Ashley is originally from Sheffield, but has lived in Wheathampstead for five years. The distillery is situated near the High Street.

Independent brewery Farr Brew is also based in Wheathampstead, and has collaborated with Black Bridge to create a white whiskey called A Bridge To Farr.

Black Bridge Distillery products can be purchased from Farr Brew or from Tomoka Spirits Boutique in St Albans.

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