English Whisky Company minutes from disaster

England’s only whisky distillery was just minutes from losing prized stock following a fire on Monday.

Flames took hold in the corner of a workshop at the English Whisky Company in Harling Road, Roudham, at about 4.20pm.

Four fire engines were called to the fire, which was put out before it spread to the nearby whisky store.

All staff were evacuated safely.

Visitor centre manager Sarah Thacker said: “It was a real worry – it was close to where the whisky was kept.

“I heard one person say that in another ten minutes we could have lost it all.

“Importantly, the whisky is safe.”

Founder James Nelstrop and managing director Andrew Nelstrop were away on business in Scotland at the time of the fire, but have since returned.

The fire service was also worried about a store of chlorine used for cleaning which was close to the fire and sent for a special chemical incident unit in Norwich and a cordon was set up.

The crews spent about two hours at the scene but no danger was caused by the chemical.

The English Whisky Company is now trading normally.