Leekes Retail and Leisure Group becomes sole owner of Hensol Castle Distillery
The owners of the Leekes department store chain have become the sole owners of Hensol Castle Distillery in south Wales following a buy-out of a minority shareholder.
Leekes Retail & Leisure Group, which also owns Hensol Castle, the Vale Resort and the remaining share in the distillery, have bought the 25% stake from father and son team Andy and Rhys Mallows.
The distillery is situated in the cellars of Hensol Castle which has been transformed into a wedding and conference venue following a multi-million pound investment in 2015.
Having started production in 2019, the distillery has been contract bottling and has also launched an on-trade range of Benjamin Hall gin and vodka, a Crawshay collection of gins, and a reduced calorie range of liqueurs called TRULO.
During the initial Covid-19 outbreak last year, it paused production of its own branded alcohol ranges to focus its efforts on making alcohol-based hand sanitiser..
The new managing director of Hensol Castle Distillery Christopher Leeke (pictured right) said: “These are exciting times for the distillery. Our contract bottling division is extremely busy with new enquiries arriving weekly, while our own brands are gaining in popularity via retail outlets throughout the UK, particularly our exciting market defining TRULO range.
“The ‘gin-aissance’ shows no signs of abating, as it continues to be a popular tipple among us Brits. According to the Wine and Spirits Trade Association, 75 million bottles of gin were sold in 2020, 10 million extra bottles compared to the same period in 2019.”
The distillery is also planning to become a flagship tourism destination by opening a visitor experience centre, tasting bar and gin school this September.
Leeke added: “Our plans to open the visitor experience, tasting bar and gin school were scuppered by the pandemic, so we are now eagerly awaiting the lifting of restrictions so that we can finally showcase our exceptional distillery to the public.
“We have invested heavily in creating a first-class visitor experience that is designed to educate and delight in equal measures and, judging by the forward ticket sales, it appears that the public are just as excited as we are about it.”
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