THE Cotswolds Distillery has been awarded a grant from the Rural Development Programme for England, for the construction of a new visitors’ centre at their site in the North Cotswolds.

The distillery in Shipston fought off fierce competition to secure the grant of £145,000.

Awarded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the grant is presented to businesses which create jobs and growth in the rural tourism sector. The remaining cost of the build will be met through the distillery’s current equity crowdfunding round on Crowdcube, which opened last week and aims to raise £2 million.

In addition to serving as the new brand home, it is hoped that the new visitor centre will allow the distillery to diversify its tour offering with a wider range of experiences available to visitors including tastings and evening events.

The new visitor centre will house tasting rooms, an expanded shop, an exhibition space and a café. Currently the distillery welcomes nearly 30,000 visitors a year running three tours a day, seven days a week.

The new centre will have interactive exhibition spaces and a viewing area, allowing drop-in visitors a glimpse of the distillery when tours are fully booked meaning they can still learn about the work of the distillery and see production in action.

Dan Szor, founder and chief executive of the Cotswolds Distillery said: “We are thrilled with this marvellous vote of confidence from the UK government, which will allow us to enhance our award-winning visitor offering.

"We’re looking forward to completing our visitors’ centre project and really creating a destination that brings people to the area, showcasing this stunning region that’s so dear to us.

This grant really shows that the Government fully back our vision and recognise the far-reaching benefits that this kind of investment can have on the wider rural economy of the North Cotswolds.”