Thames Bank Distillery

From London's Ghost Acres

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Used Raw Materials

Barley, Malt, Yeast

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Thames Bank Distillery was founded in 1797 by Octavius Smith and Company. A distillery creates beer in the same way as a brewery, but then extracts a liquid with a higher alcohol content from the beer. Thames Bank Distillery used both malt and raw barley or other grains to create a mash from which the wort is extracted and then fermented with yeast. The result, now called ‘wash’, consists of water and alcohol, and the distiller’s job is to separate the alcohol by heating the wash until the alcohol vaporizes.

According to the law passed in 1825 and the complicated way that duties were calculated, brewing and distilling take place at separate times in separate buildings. Along with those buildings, the site of Thames Bank Distillery also has large granaries, stables, offices, workshops, and a mill.

Barley was imported from Russia, Denmark, Germany, France, and Turkey, while yeast was often shipped in from Holland and Germany.