A craft spirit distillery, gin school, visitor experience, bonded warehouse and bottling plant is coming to 400-year old Hensol Castle at the Vale Resort in South Wales, as part of a £7m scheme to bring the castle back into use.

The basement of the 17th century, Grade I-listed castle will be converted into a craft spirit distillery, bonded warehouse, gin school and visitor experience. Visitors will be able to distil their own bespoke bottle of gin made to their specific taste. In addition, they will be able to look around the distillery operation, learn about the history of gin and Hensol Castle, discover the ingredients that go into the different gins and enjoy a gin tasting and cocktail bar.

Hensol Castle Distillery, meanwhile, will produce a range of spirits for commercial sale including entry-level, mid-level and premium-quality gins, vodkas and other spirits including an exciting low calorie, low sugar and low alcohol range.  The ambition is for these to be available in local pubs and restaurants as well as major supermarkets, wholesalers and cash and carry outlets.

Hensol Castle Distillery is a joint venture between the Leeke family, who own The Vale Resort and Leekes, and the Mallows family who own Bottles and Distillers Wales. Current Vale Resort directors, Stephen Leeke and Mike Fowler, are joined by father and son team, Andy and Rhys Mallows, to form the new board.

Stephen Leeke, managing director of the Vale Resort, said: “This is a hugely exciting development at the Vale Resort and another critical step forward in the overall redevelopment of the historic Hensol Castle.

“The distillery experience set in a beautiful Grade 1 listed building will be something totally unique, not just in Wales but globally.  It is a key part of our strategy for the re-development of Hensol Castle and its destination restaurant, which will focus on the very best of Welsh food and drink.  We’re confident the distillery and restaurant will attract local trade as well as national and international visitors, and we will be working closely with Visit Wales, the Vale of Glamorgan Council, and other local attractions to bring new markets to the area. It will provide another compelling reason for tourists to visit south Wales, helping to drive the overall economy of the region.”

The distillery is part of a wider redevelopment at Hensol Castle, which has already included turning the once derelict castle into a first-class wedding and conference destination. The introduction of a top-end restaurant will follow.