A DISTILLERY offering daily tours is planning to open in a city centre as part of plans for the young business to become a visitor destination.

Durham Distillery has announced plans to relocate to Durham city as part of an expansion, which will also see it making whisky for the first time.

The distillery, which has now been running for around four years from its base in Langley Park, near Durham, has established itself with its gin and vodka products..

And when it starts production of whisky starts later this year it is thought it will become the first distiller of the spirit in the North-East.

Owner Jon Chadwick said: “We are gearing up for what will be a huge year for the business, moving from the outskirts of Durham to a larger city centre premises to begin producing the first whisky to be made in this region, alongside increased production of our gin and vodka.

“Our new home will not only give us additional operations and storage capacity, but will enable us to become a visitor destination.

“The aim is to host guided tours daily, as well as private functions and corporate events, in addition to being a welcome space for local people to enjoy as a meeting place.”

Though the first batch of whisky will not be ready to drink until 2021, people can sign up now to reserve a founder’s cask, as well as cases or bottles.

The location of the new distillery has not yet been revealed.

The company has been given a £250,000 investment from a new fund to assist with the relocation and production of Durham Whisky.

The £20m Finance Durham Fund has been set up by Business Durham, part of Durham County Council, to help businesses grow.

Mr Chadwick added: “I realised my dream when Durham Distillery was founded in 2014, and to see it go from strength to strength with significant growth plans on the horizon is fantastic.”

Head distiller Jessica Tomlinson said: “Heading up the production of Durham Whisky is very exciting, and we can’t wait to start the process in 2018. As well as it being a first for this part of England, it’s also a shake up for the industry as there are very few female distillers, especially producing whisky.

“We’ve really honed our craft over the last four years widely establishing our gin and vodka, seeing it positioned on shelves in stores and venues next to brands which have been around for decades.

“The chance to be part of whisky history is a limited opportunity for fans of the spirit as well as those interested in the region’s heritage, with reservations now open.”