Northumberland’s first whisky distillery has launched a founder programme to give enthusiasts the chance to invest in the tourist attraction.
Ad Gefrin will finally open its doors to the public next year in Wooler, four years after the Ferguson family first unveiled their plans for the distillery and tourist destination.
As well as producing whisky in the county for the first time, the £10.4m project aims to be a major jobs driver for the area, creating 50 jobs through sales in UK and international markets while supporting training and employment across the hospitality, visitor engagement and spirit production sectors.
Ad Gefrin has received £3m through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal and £1m from the North East Rural Growth Network – Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF) through the North East LEP, and £600,000 through Northumberland County Council.
While construction gathers pace at the former Redpath’s Yard site, Ad Gefrin’s newly-appointed business development manager has outlined plans for its founder programme.
Sharon Howey, who has held prominent roles at Newcastle United Football Club and Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club, said locals, whisky enthusiasts and ex-pats now around the world with Northumbrian roots have been asking if they could be part of the Ad Gefrin journey.
Following in-depth research, she has created a founding members’ programme called The Corenkyn.
She said: “It’s been a long wait, not least because of almost 18 months affected by lockdown, but I am really excited to now make this opportunity public. We’ve received a lot of interest from people from across the UK and beyond, looking to get involved and this is an opportunity for them to do just that.
“This exclusive membership initiative comes after a number of requests from people wanting to ‘buy-in’ to the venture and become part of the Ad Gefrin journey before we open our doors in Wooler in autumn 2022.
“Corenkyn is a modern-day ‘kenning’ or word picture, created by joining two previously unrelated words, meaning ‘Chosen’ and ‘Relation’ – and that is how we at Ad Gefrin want to view our founding members. Ad Gefrin is about bringing people together, making them feel welcome and sharing the true spirit of Northumbrian hospitality. The Corenkyn will be at the very heart of this; there from the beginning, investing in an amazing journey for us all.”
Corenkyn members will benefit from lifetime access to the Exhibition and Distillery Tours, and recognition within the new building.
There will also be a bottle of Ad Gefrin spirit every year for eight years; first an exclusive Corenkyn Blend Collection, released with a different cask finish for the first five years, followed by a bottle of the Ad Gefrin Single Malt for the remainder.
Mark Murray, who was born and brought up in Wooler and is now living in Australia, said Corenkyn gives him the chance to directly invest in a transformative new business venture on home turf.
He said: “I grew up on a farm outside Wooler and moved oversees in order to pursue my career.
“My immediate family are still in the Glendale area, and I continue to connect with and support various local initiatives. As a whisky collector (and consumer!), I am very excited to hear about the launch of Ad Gefrin’s new membership program.”
Co-founder of the project, Eileen Ferguson, added: “Community spirit is behind everything we are looking to achieve with Ad Gefrin. We are excited that Sharon has created this wonderful opportunity for people from all over the world to get involved with the project. It is particularly special if, like Mark, they have ties to the Glendale area.”