A NORTH Yorkshire gin maker is looking to move its operation into the shadow of Whitby Abbey.

Whitby Distillery, makers of Whitby Gin, was founded  2017 by Jessica Slater and Luke Pentith who have grown their business from a passion project to one which is stocked in more than 300 outlets across the UK.

The gin is crafted using hand foraged botanicals from the Yorkshire coast and moorland and more than 600 bottles of it are sold every week.

Having moved their operation out of the town as it started to grow the pair are now looking to move up to Whitby Abbey by renovating empty buildings on Abbey Lands Farm. As well as the distillery, the plans include a visitor centre.

A planning application submitted to Scarborough Council states: “Following guidance taken from English Heritage (the guardians of the Whitby Abbey) we intend to renovate the two derelict barns located on the south-west corner of the Abbey grounds, formally used as Abbey Lands Farm.

“These are to be renovated to form the new home for Whitby Distillery.

“The site renovation will be sympathetic to the sensitive setting and help English Heritage fulfil their lease requirement of putting the barns to use.

“By renovating the Abbey Barns, it will enable us to grow our business capabilities and introduce a new industry to Whitby.

“We want to share our unique processes with the public as well as offer a versatile space for educational, wellbeing, corporate and small commercial events in a location which is currently in a state of disrepair.

“The proposed site has been designed so that we are able to grow our current business capabilities to a reasonable size. If the business was to outgrow the site we would look to move activities such as bottling and storage to other local industrial units.

“Whitby Distillery aims to offer an educational and enjoyable visitor experience which can be accessed all year round. The visitor experience venue and exhibition/hire space will embed and build on the strong links Whitby Gin and the distillery has to the adjacent English Heritage attraction.

“A distillery at this site has a national appeal due to the iconic location, unique industry to the area, heritage and enjoyable activities the site aims to offer to the public.

“As the tours can take place undercover, we anticipate the distillery to be busy during those quieter months.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Pentith said the business had been looking for its “forever” home and believes it has found it on the farm.

He said the business would be sympathetic to its surroundings and had the support of English Heritage and Natural England.

He said: “We promote Whitby’s culture and heritage to a wider audience and that means that our goals as a business align with their core foundations as a charity to inspire the future guardians of Whitby to care for these properties.”

Mr Pentith said the move to the farm would allow the business to grow, by not only training more people in distilling but also by offering tours of the premises when it is up and running.

He said: “The site has these incredible views of the Abbey, the town, the moors and the sea and no-one gets to see it as the area is closed off at the moment.

“We want to use the area for people to be able to take tours and also host small events up there.”

“We can also start recruiting people to allow them to learn how to distill, it will all be local people who will be new to the industry that we will train up. The plans are designed to allow us to scale up as the operation grows.

“Another thing we want to do is to work with local colleges and universities and just encourage people to take an interest in small scale manufacturing from a small business like ours using traditional methods.”

The plans are now out to consultation.