A NORTH-East distillery has announced a new venue for when it opens next year.

Work is underway on the new premises for Durham Distillery, which is planning to open in Durham city centre next summer.

Having previously planned to open at The Riverwalk, the redeveloped leisure complex in Durham, delays have meant the distillery will now be based at the Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, in the former Royal Bank of Scotland branch.

A 10-year-lease has been agreed and work is already underway on turning the bank building into a distillery.

The company, which is based in Langley Park, says it is making an almost £1m investment in the city and the move will create new jobs.

The Northern Echo:

Durham Distillery is opening at the Prince Bishops Shopping Centre

Owner Jon Chadwick said: “We are really excited to make this big announcement and see signs up letting everyone know where our new home will be.

"Prince Bishops approached us earlier in the year as there were severe delays out of our hands with the riverside location we’d hoped to relocate to.

"Since signing the lease there has been a lot of work with our architects and designers to create something really special for Durham, and the fit out is well underway."

The distillery will be home to the creation of the company's gin and vodka, and will also see the start of production of the North-East's first whisky.

The new premises will be open to the public for tours and tastings and will also have a shop.

The company is hoping to secure investment from members of the public through a crowdfunding campaign, which has been launched to help fund the new distillery and runs until December 19.

Mr Chadwick added: "The new setting not only benefits from a central location with passing traffic to and from the cathedral, it’s larger and means we can be really imaginative when it comes to things like visitor experience and scope for expansion in the future.

"We’re bringing a completely new offering to the retail scene at Prince Bishops.”

Richard Toynbee, centre manager at Prince Bishops Shopping Centre added: “Durham Distillery will be a very welcome addition to the Prince Bishops line-up.

"It is vitally important to the city centre that businesses offer our customers a really good experience and together we show commitment to retail and leisure investment for the future."

The shopping centre is hosting a pop-up Durham Distillery in the lead up to Christmas.

It will open on November 23 in a unit opposite its new premises.