Cheers! Or should we say “kanpai”! UK’s first sake brewery will be in the Fens

Cheers! Or should we say “kanpai”! UK’s first sake brewery will be in the Fens

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East Cambridgeshire is earning itself a reputation for brewing booze. Quality booze, that is.

The Fordham Abbey Estate has just been given the green light to set up the UK’s first sake brewery and an application has been submitted to set up a tiny micro brewery in Little Downham. With The Ely Gin Company becoming a local success story, the area is becoming a hot spot for brewers.

On Wednesday East Cambridgeshire District Council approved plans for the new sake brewery in Fordham. It will be run by the Dojima family, which has been producing rice wine for 200 years in Japan.

The brewery at Fordham Abbey Estate will include an education and visitor centre and is expected to create 100 jobs over five years. Its owners paid over £3 million for the estate last year, which includes a Georgian manor house and over 200 acres of land. The company plans to invest £9 million into the brewery.

Japanese wooden buckets, used for brewing sake. Picture: Sean Okihiro
Japanese wooden buckets, used for brewing sake. Picture: Sean Okihiro

In separate news Clifford Roberts, of Matthew Wren Close, Little Downham, has put in an application to ECDC to transform his two garden sheds into a very small scale micro brewery.

ElyGinPortrait

East Cambridgeshire is a popular location for brewers and distillers, with The Ely Gin Company going from strength to strength (no pun on the intensity of its delicious gins!) since it opened for trading on March 2012.

Speclalising in flavoured gins and vodkas, The Ely Gin Company now has a store at 2/3 Buttermarket in Ely, as well as regularly trading at the Ely Market and special events, including food festivals.

Its founder, former computer programmer James Clark, turned his hobby of making hedgerow wines and sloe gin into his business.

In June 2016, the company, marketing itself as “the Spirit of the Fens”, launched a new selection of flavoured vodkas.

The Ely Gin Company is now in the fifth year of trading and has doubled in turnover every year since its market stall beginnings in 2012 and sells its products across Europe.