Durham Distillery is to start producing whisky this year to add to its existing portfolio of gin and vodka.

Whisky production will begin this year at a new facility located in the centre of Durham.

The distillery, which opened in 2014, already makes gin and vodka, which are available to buy throughout the UK.

Head distiller, Jess Tomlinson, said: “As well as it being a first for this part of England, it is also a shake up for the industry as there are very few female distillers, especially producing whisky.”

The new city centre site, which forms part of its overall expansion plans, will enable the distillery to increase production and storage capacity. It will also incorporate a visitor centre for the company.

Distillery owner, Jon Chadwick, said the company is gearing up for “a huge year” for the business.

He added: “Our new home will not only give us additional operations and storage capacity, but will enable us to become a visitor destination. The aim is to host guided tours daily, as well as private functions and corporate events, in addition to being a welcome space for local people to enjoy as a meeting place.

“I realised by dream when Durham Distillery was founded in 2014, and to see it go from strength to strength with significant growth plans on the horizon is fantastic.”

Interested parties can already put forward their interest in a Founder’s Cask of the first whisky run, as well as both cases and bottles, which will all be ready to drink in 2021.

The company also has a Limited Edition Durham Gin run from the new distillery, which will be numbered and signed by head distiller Tomlinson.

The producer’s Durham Gin and Durham Vodka is stocked by Fenwick Food Hall and Majestic Wines.

Durham Distillery was the first emerging business to be invested in from the Finance Durham Fund – a £20m pot set up by Business Durham, part of Durham County Council, to help businesses grow in the county. The fund, which is managed by private equity house Maven Capital Partners, invested £250,000 in the distillery to assist its relocation and production of Durham Whisky.