A GIN-maker has won permission to go ahead with £1.5million plans to relocate to new premises in the shadow of an historic North Yorkshire abbey.

Scarborough councillors have today, Thursday, approved Whitby Distillery’s plans to renovate two derelict barns on Abbey Lands on the south-west corner of the Abbey grounds.

Whitby Distillery, makers of Whitby Gin, was founded in 2017 by Jessica Slater and former Fulford School student Luke Pentith who have grown their business from a passion project to one whose gin stocked in more than 300 outlets across the UK.

The move will enable the distillery to become one of the most iconic distillery visitor experiences in England, providing high-quality leisure and function space for the local community to enjoy.

Luke said: “This is absolutely wonderful news. We’d like to say a big thank you to Scarborough Council and English Heritage for believing in us and in our exciting project.

"Moving our distillery to Abbey Lands Farm is a game-changer for us and will enable us to step up production, give us a tremendous platform for growth and introduce a new industry to Whitby.

“It is an honour and a privilege to be restoring these derelict buildings on such a world-famous site. For us, this is all about launching an amazing adventure on the atmospheric North Sea coastline, with tremendous knock-on effects for the local economy,”

Work on the new eco-build distillery will start this autumn, with a six to12-month build period.

The building will supported by renewable energy sources to house a new hand-beaten still. Green roofs will be planted with wild flowers to nurture the natural plants and wildlife.

Jessica said: “This is a serious commitment to Whitby. We are making a significant investment into the local community and the future of the town, with 10 jobs supported during renovation and, in the longer term, we anticipate up to 15 employees.

“As well as the distillery, our plans include a visitor centre, which will showcase our production process and our various gins, as well as paying homage to the amazing cultural heritage of Whitby and providing an educational and corporate business space."

Luke added: “Whitby Distillery aims to offer an educational and enchanting visitor experience which can be accessed all year round, as an out-of-season and wet weather destination. The visitor experience venue and exhibition/hire space build on the strong links Whitby Gin and the distillery has with the adjacent English Heritage attraction."

Whitby Gin is crafted using hand foraged botanicals from the coast and moorland and more than 600 bottles are sold every week.

Luke added: “We recently purchased our new still Dora-Grace, which is to be relocated to this site. With Dora-Grace we have the capability to produce up to 100,000 full size bottles per year. The distillery has been designed to allow for future growth by having all operations under one roof and leaving space for an additional larger still to join Dora-Grace should demand require it. This would allow us to double capacity yet again.”

The renovation work will partly be funded by Whitby Distillery’s Founders Club, which will give investors to chance to become part of the Whitby Distillery success story.