A SOUTH Shropshire brewery is providing a helping hand to a Herefordshire company that has started making whisky.

Hobsons Brewery, based in Cleobury Mortimer, is helping The Chase Distillery, based at Preston Wynne, to produce barley beer.

The distillery, based at Preston Wynne, is now looking to expand into the whisky market – with trials having already started around two years ago. The business is the brainchild of potato farmer William Chase – who also founded world-renowned Herefordshire crisp company Tyrrell’s.

After selling the company in 2008, Mr Chase turned his attention to a new project – using potatoes to create award-winning vodka.

And heading the project Alex Davies said it was something that was always in the pipeline.

“William has always had the idea that he would like to produce whisky but he wanted to start with vodka first,” said Alex.

“We started about two years ago and it’s all being done in Herefordshire.

“The first stage is to produce a beer and that’s something we can’t do on site so we’ve been in contact with Hobsons Brewery – based just down the road in Cleobury Mortimer – and it is producing barley beer which we are distilling to produce a whisky.”

Whisky – comprised of a base of barley and yeast – is typically distilled in copper stills and aged in wooden casks for a minimum of three years.