William Chase Distillery Tour, near Hereford
Family-owned Chase Distillery sells more than 10,000 bottles of vodka a week. Every single one is produced from the potatoes grown on its 400-acre farm near Hereford and hand-bottled on site.
Tour the William Chase Distillery in Herefordshire
With their smart Union Jack bow ties, bottles of Chase vodka and gin are easy to spot on the supermarket shelves. Visiting Chase Distillery in rural Herefordshire connected me to the land and the people who produce them. It’s in the surrounding fields where the potatoes are grown and in the farm buildings, where they’re peeled and the spirit is distilled and bottled. On the distillery tour I discovered the fascinating story behind the brand and tasted products such as their Limited Edition Pink Grapefruit Vodka (divine). I came away with a bottle of Williams Elegant Gin made using cider apples and a keeness to experiment with their Smoked Vodka.Sally, The Foodie Travel Guide
- Tour Chase distillery
- Taste single estate gin and vodka
- Dine or stay at the Verzon hotel nearby
Discover Will’s Story From Potato to Crisp
Drive up the tree-lined drive of Chase Farm and you’ll pass apple orchards, rolling potato fields and an assortment of vintage land rovers. Behind this rural picture is the story of a man with vision and sheer determination. Turning the crops of this sleepy part of the Herefordshire countryside into award-winning vodka and gin has been quite a journey for William Chase. Fed up with having his wonky veg rejected by the big supermarkets, he started turning his potatoes into crisps. In 2008, he sold Tyrrells Crisps for £30 million and announced that he wanted to ‘Stop making people fat with crisps and start making people happy”.
Herefordshire cattle grazing next to apple orchards
August’s busy schedule on Chase farm
Tour Chase Distillery and Find Out About Will’s Adventure in Vodka
Will’s next light bulb moment came on an overseas trip when he tasted vodka made from potatoes. His subsequent adventure into spirits resulted in Chase being awarded World’s Best Vodka at the prestigious 2010 San Francisco Spirits Awards, chosen from over 9,000 entries. Each week 160,000 tonnes of potatoes are peeled and mashed at the farm and turned into vodka. Take a guided tour of the distillery which is housed in a converted hop-kiln barn, and you’ll learn all about the production process and see the equipment that’s used. Taking pride of place and surrounded by various boys toys and wooden barrels, is Europe’s tallest rectification tower standing at 70ft.
Chase Distillery’s rectification tower
Dial on the rectification tower
Taste Gin Made From Apples
Gin distilleries generally buy in neutral grain spirit, a crude vodka, and turn it into gin by adding botanicals. Chase is in the unique position of producing their own home-grown potato vodka. They use ‘Ginny’, a Carter head style still and place a pillow case filled with botanicals in the head to infuse the flavours. For a warm and spicy Christmas gin, try Williams GB Gin with its notes of clove and cinnamon. Serve it with a slice of ginger, lemon and Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic. For a more floral and fruity summer gin, try Williams Elegant Gin made using cider apples and serve it with a slice of apple.
Chase Vodka bottle with distinctive bow tie
Have a Tipple at The Bar
At the end of the tour there’s a gathering around the bar and plenty of opportunity to taste and buy products. Try Chase Marmalade Vodka which is marinated with Seville orange marmalade. It ‘makes a great breakfast martini’. The rhubarb vodka drew plenty of ‘oohs and ahhs’ as it’s pure rhubarb and custard. With exports to 32 countries and over £10 million in annual sales, there’s a strong fan base out there. You’ll almost certainly go home with a bottle or two and perhaps a bag of Will’s Fit Popcorn. It’s his latest creation. Try the Salted Honey made using apple blossom honey from the orchard.
SHOP THIS STORY
- Book lunch or Afternoon Tea at the Verzon, a lovely boutique hotel in nearby Trumpet that’s owned by Will Chase
- Other Chase delights include wine produced at Château Constantin, his vineyard in Provence and Willy’s Cider
- Continue your tasting tour of the region by visiting Westons Cider Mill and the Three Choirs Vineyard
- Visit the cathedral city of Hereford which is just a short drive away and have lunch at La Madeleine, a popular café with a pretty garden
WHERE TO STAY
Verzon House – a stylish boutique hotel owned by the Chase family with its own restaurant, bar and decked terrace (the Chase Distillery is nearby)
Brooks Country House – ‘affordable luxury’ in this new 22-roomed hotel housed in a former Georgian Manor with stunning views of the Black Mountains and surrounding countryside
The Bell at Skenfrith – a foodie pub in the Monmouthshire countryside close to Abergavenny that’s also a great base for walkers
Please check with the Chase Distillery team.
HOW TO FIND CHASE DISTILLERY
William Chase Distillery, Rosemaund Farm in Preston Wynne, Hereford, HR1 3PG