Hotel distillery plan will raise the bar

Gin is proving a real tonic for a popular Lancashire hotel as it looks to emerge strongly from the coronavirus pandemic and attract visitors from across the UK.

The family-run Whitehall Hotel in Darwen is currently converting its restaurant into a gin distillery and bar as part of its development plans.

Primarily a venue for weddings and events, the popular hotel has been run by Neil and Tracy Bullows since 2003, with WNJ providing support and advice to the couple.

During this latest lockdown, work is continuing to convert its former restaurant area into the distillery, with a bar and seating area, and a space for gin-making classes to take place.

Once completed, the Whitehall will also be able to offer dishes from its ‘ginstronomy’ menu, which will match botanicals with food from regional suppliers.

Paul Sheerin, who owns Defiance Spirits based in Oldham, and who is a friend of Neil’s, is assisting in the plan, which will help expand the drinks brand, which includes a range of gins and rums.

And a special premium London gin is being developed by Paul and Neil as part of the overall project.

The Whitehall has been an institution in the area for more than 50 years, but in common with many other businesses within the hospitality sector, it has been significantly impacted by the pandemic.

The gin project is an example of how businesses are creatively looking to emerge stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Neil says: “The one thing that the Whitehall has always been able to count on is the support of the local community, which was never any more evident during the recent Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

“I thought if we could further build on that business by attracting customers from outside of the area, the Whitehall will stand the test of time.”

“We’re hard at work creating something very special and we believe we’re the only hotel outside London to have its own gin distillery. These are really exciting times for the business.”

A majestic Victorian manor house lovingly transformed into a traditional country house hotel, The Whitehall dates back to 1898.

It enjoys many period features from the sandstone frontage to its panelled sweeping staircase and is perfectly situated for visitors wishing to explore the West Pennine Moors.

Defiance gin, was voted the best in the world at this year’s prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Up against more than 3,000 entries, Defiance Navy Strength won the ‘Best in Show, Unaged White Spirit’ category.

• To discuss how WNJ can help support your business please contact me on 01772 430000.