WORK is about to start to create a visitor centre and pizza restaurant at a gin distillery in Oxford.

TOAD - the Oxford Artisan Distillery - is the city’s first legal gin distillery and celebrated its first birthday last year.

Now owners of the visitor attraction in South Park, Headington, are ready to invest about £900,000 in the site.

Oxford Mail:

Managing director Tagore Ramoutar said he hoped work on the visitor centre, featuring a restaurant and shop, would begin within months.

He added: “The building will cost £900,000, close on £1m so it is a significant investment.

READ AGAIN: The Oxford Artisan Distillery's first birthday

“We received the planning permission in 2017 - it was a condition of our lease with the city council that we build the visitor centre.

“Last year we had 4,800 visitors and so far this year we have had 1,800 so we hope that number will be up to 7,000 by the end of the year.”

Oxford Mail:

TOAD has quickly become one of the city’s most popular visitor attractions.

The distillery, where gin lovers can take a tour, is one of the locations featuring on the new Oxford Pass, a joint initiative between Blenheim Palace, Experience Oxfordshire and The Oxford Bus Company, which aims to increase tourism.

READ AGAIN: The Oxford Artisan Distillery looks to build visitor centre in South Park

Mr Ramoutar added: “In November we were the number one visitor attraction in Oxford on TripAdvisor which is fantastic.

“Over time the new centre will help our visitor numbers to grow.

Oxford Mail:

“Currently we are a grain to glass distillery and we will use four organic farms to supply the majority of the restaurant’s needs, including meat and vegetables.

“In the day pizzas made from our heritage grain will be cooked in wood-fired ovens.

“We expect the restaurant will be open from 9am until late seven days a week.”

Mr Ramoutar said the eatery, part of the visitor centre looking out onto South Park, would be able to cater for 70 people. The new centre will also accommodate a distillery shop and toilets.

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Visitors to the distillery off Cheney Lane are invited to find out more about craft distilling using sustainably farmed populations of heritage grain and bespoke hand-built copper stills.

One popular TOAD product is Ashmolean Dry Gin, inspired by the museum’s collections from around the world.