Tyrrells' vodka plans move a step closer

Crisps producer Tyrrells is expecting to have its first bottles of vodka ready for sale by April after it was given the green light to build a distillery on its Herefordshire farm.

Councillors granted the company planning permission to build the distillery in a 19th century hop house on the site at a meeting just before Christmas, despite objections from local residents.

Tyrrells owner Will Chase said he was pleased the company could now move ahead with its plans, but said there was “no great rush” to get the product out.

He said: “Our biggest priority is to make a quality product. We want to take our time and make the best we can. We should have it ready for March, but it could be April before it goes on sale."

Two distillers from Eastern Europe have been employed to create the vodka, which will be made from potatoes considered too small to be made into crisps.

Chase said old artisan production methods would be used to produce the spirit which will have a subtle potato taste.

“Because it’s organic and made of potatoes, we are hoping that its provenance will come through. We want a bit of natural taste to it,” he said.

The company is aiming to make 3,600 bottles a week at the site, which Chase said will initially be sold in “high-end independent shops and hotels”.

Tyrrells will use a £5 million regional prize it won in the Bank of Scotland £25 million Entrepreneurial Challenge last year to finance the distillery.

Last month the company was also named winner of the outstanding business achievement award at the national finals of the British Chambers of Commerce Awards 2007 for its business record and focus on sustainability.