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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Cornish take on Scotch
Prince Charles
Prince Charles, the Duke of Cornwall, with a St Austell brew

A Cornish brewer has claimed a first for the county, by producing a new malt whisky.

The makers, St Austell Brewery and The Cornish Cyder Farm, claim it could rival the best Scotland can produce.

But no-one will know for eight years when the whisky, which has been put in oak casks, matures.

Roger Ryman, head brewer at St Austell Brewery, said the county's mild, steady climate made it well-suited to whisky production.

"With Cornwall being a Celtic region we felt it was appropriate that the county had its own whisky as well," he said.

It will be quite a delicate spirit, I expect, with a delicate vanilla note
Roger Ryman

"Our operation down here is tiny but we hope it will be a rival to Scottish producers in terms of quality."

The initial distillation will produce about 1,000 bottles, each of which will be individually numbered and signed by the head brewer when the whisky is ready for release.

Mr Ryman said: "It will be quite a delicate spirit, I expect, with a delicate vanilla note from the wood of the casks."

The Cornish product has been made with barley grown for St Austell Brewery at Trerulefoot, south-east Cornwall.

The barley was malted at Tuckers Maltings in Newton Abbot, Devon, before being taken to St Austell Brewery, where "whisky wash" was created.

The "wash" - a strong, unhopped beer - was taken to the Cornish Cyder Farm for the distillation stage.

The finished spirit will mature in the cellars of St Austell Brewery.

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