The county’s largest distillery has landed – and it’s based just up the road from Oswestry.

Hilda – an affectionately-named 1,000 litre still – arrived from Germany last week officially launching a new gin, whisky and brandy-making venture called Henstone Distillery.

The still is based at Stonehouse Brewery in Weston and it is hoped the first batches of gin will be ready for Christmas.

Henstone has seen Shane and Alison Parr, owners of Stonehouse, team up with their friends Chris and Alex Tiller, from Morda.

“It’s something that has been suggested lots of times but we’ve been too busy,” said Alison.

“Chris had the idea to set up the distillery and we’ve known him and Alex for quite a long time, so we started talking – and that’s where the idea of doing this together came from.”

It has taken two years to get to this point, but they still have more work to do before the products can be launched.

Alison added: “We hope to have the gin ready by Christmas – we’re just waiting for the licence to be finalised because we can’t do anything until we’ve got that approved.

“It should be in time. Gin is a very quick product to make – you can distill it in a day and then bottle it, but whisky has to go into wooden casks for three years before it can be called whisky.

“In the meantime we’re looking at making brandy too.”

The team hopes the new venture will create more jobs in the coming months and years. However, it will take time for them to get up to full capacity as Hilda is the largest Kothe Still in the UK.

Alison added: “We already have lots of local shops, pubs, businesses and restaurants interested in stocking our spirits and we’re really looking forward to getting them out there.”