Shareholders have been told that The Oxford Artisan Distillery is moving - to Yorkshire.

Tom Nicolson launched the award-winning gin distillery known as TOAD in 2017 near South Park in Headington.

In 2022 the company's Oxford Rye Dry Gin was launched into more than 150 Waitrose stores across the country.

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The distillery in Cheney Lane also manufactures whisky and in order to increase its production it has decided to move to a new site.

A letter to shareholders explains that the Oxford name will now disappear from its whisky, and its English rye whisky will be called Fielden Whisky instead.

Oxford Mail: TOAD founder Tom NicolsonShareholders have been told: "We needed to find a site where we could increase production ten-fold, from 30,000 litres of pure alcohol to over 300,000 LPA a year, in order to make the whisky to meet future demand!

"The Oxford site was difficult to develop given its physical footprint, location and the (fair and reasonable) restrictions imposed by the Oxford Preservation Trust covenants and Oxford City Council planning requirements. I would like to note that we are very supportive of OCC's strategic direction of travel for the city.

"To this end we needed to find a new site. Given our ‘home is in the field’ we were able to look at sites beyond Oxford. The result is that our new distillery will be in Goole, East Yorkshire.

"The distillery is being built in partnership with the Yorkshire Distilling Company. We expect to commission the three 5,000 litre Kothe Stills from Germany in September 2024 when they will be ready to receive our 2024 harvest of heritage grains."

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The briefing to shareholders adds that staff will be leaving the Oxford site at the end of 2024 when the company will cease to ‘trade as’ The Oxford Artisan Distillery.

Oxford Mail: The Oxford Artisan DistilleryTours will stop running at the end of May 2024 and the production team will blend whisky on site until mid-Autumn 2024. The company will then 'make good' the site and return it to the council.

The statement adds: "It is sad that we are leaving; the site has served its purpose on our journey. Last year over 6,000 visitors came to the distillery and their main learning was that we make super-tasting spirits from super-sustainable farming. We now need to move to make sure we lead and grow the heritage grain farming movement through our delicious Fielden whisky."

Oxford Mail: TOAD distiller Cory MasonThe company will continue to make some gin and this will reflect its Oxford roots.

It will now work with Woods Bros. Distillers, a small farm distillery in West Oxfordshire, to continue to make its heritage grain based Grain Neutral Spirit and then use this as a base for its supply of Physic Gin and Ashmolean Gin to the Oxford Botanic Garden and Ashmolean Museum.