The Oxford Artisan Distillery Becomes the First Certified Organic Grain-To-Glass Distillery
The Oxford Artisan Distillery is proud to be the first certified organic grain-to-glass distillery in the UK.
Since its inception in 2017, the distillery has been producing high quality spirits made from locally grown organic heritage grain* and has now been officially certified as Organic by the Soil Association**. According to the latest figures, out of the 441 distilleries in the UK, The Oxford Artisan Distillery is the only organic, grain-to-glass distillery***.
Gaining certification was always part of The Oxford Artisan Distillery’s overall mission. The team has worked towards this with the help of archaeo-botanist John Letts, who has spent his life researching and resurrecting ancient polycultures of grain, growing genetically diverse fields, with zero use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilisers.
It is the only distillery in the world to be using these ancient populations of heritage grain, all sustainably grown exclusively on organic farms within a 50-mile radius of the site. The rare and distinctive subtleties in the distillery’s spirits are a direct result of the commitment to these diverse varieties of heritage rye, wheat and barley.
Co-founder and Managing Director, Tagore Ramoutar, says: “From the beginning, we knew we wanted to produce the finest spirits using organic, local grain. We wanted to have total Seed-to-Still provenance to produce organic spirits that not only taste incredible but are kind to the environment. Our goal from the outset has always been to be mindful of our ecosystem; to adopt an approach that supports the biodiversity in nature to make great tasting spirits. Every part of our landrace sustains the agro-ecosystem – from microorganisms in the soil, to insects buzzing and birds flying.”
As a result of the certification, the distillery’s two core products are being relaunched as: Oxford Rye Organic Vodka and Oxford Rye Organic Dry Gin with refreshed packaging and label designs. The vodka’s liquid remains unchanged but Co-founder and Master Distiller Cory Mason decided to tweak the gin’s botanical formulation and lower the ABV very slightly.
Mason comments: “Since launch our gin recipe has slowly evolved whilst retaining its key characteristics. Our 100% organic rye has allowed us to distil a slightly more delicate spirit whilst allowing the botanicals to shine through and retaining our traditional gin flavour. We still use the same 12 botanicals but the ratios have evolved to ensure it retains the distinctive bold taste as a juniper-forward gin with bright layers of citrus.”
Cultivated, distilled and bottled in Oxfordshire from 100% organic grain, Oxford Rye Organic Vodka, priced at £34.95 for a 70cl bottle at 40% ABV and Oxford Rye Organic Dry Gin priced at £39.50 for a 70cl bottle at 43% ABV, are now available from the distillery’s website and on-line from specialist retailers.
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Notes for editors:
More information is available upon request via Sophie Donovan, firstname.lastname@example.org +44 1603 631 223.
The Oxford Artisan Distillery:
The distillery opened for business at its purpose-built site in Oxford on 27th July 2017. It is Oxford’s first ever distillery and produces a range of spirits, including gin, absinthe, vodka and whiskey, all with total provenance from grain to glass. The Oxford Artisan Distillery is rare amongst UK distilleries in producing its own organic spirit, rather than purchasing Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) from other sources.
The distillery has a licence to produce spirits for the University of Oxford and has a notable partnership with the University of Oxford’s Botanic Garden.
*About Organic Heritage Grain:
Certified Organic in April 2020, The Oxford Artisan Distillery is the only distiller to use genetically diverse populations of ancient heritage organic grains – revived from historical sources by a leading archaeo-botanist and grown sustainably in 150 acres, known as land races, close to Oxford. The distillery’s grain contributes to bio-diversity and soil health in the English countryside. The grains are the result of John Lett’s lifelong research on ancient grains: John Letts is an archaeo-Botanist who has spent a large part of his life sourcing and growing ancient grains together, as polycultures. John takes 30-100 varieties of grain, mixes them up, and grows them together in the same field, at the same time. These sustainable fields are all located within 50 miles of Oxford and are similar to what you would have seen in medieval times – the grains are grown specifically for the distillery, making The Oxford Artisan Distillery the only distillery in the world with a license to use John’s amazing and exclusive grains.
Soil Association Certification is the UK’s leading organic certifier across food, farming, catering, health and beauty, textiles and forestry and certifies 70% of organic food in the UK. The Soil Association, its standards and activities, and the practice of organic farmers are all based on a set of internationally recognised principles. These principles are the roots from which organic agriculture grows and develops. They express the contribution that organic agriculture can make to the world, and a vision to improve all agriculture in a global context. For more information visit the Soil Association Press Centre: https://www.soilassociation.org/press-centre/
***According to the latest figures released by HMRC at the end of 2019, the number of the distilleries in the UK was 441. Out of these The Oxford Artisan Distillery is the only distillery cultivating, distilling, and bottling its own organic heritage grains.