Burnt Faith founder, Simon Wright

Burnt Faith has launched as the first dedicated brandy house to be established on the British Isles.

Located in Walthamstow, North East London, the Burnt Faith brandy distillery is home to the only Charentais pot still ever to be imported into the UK.

Simon Wright, founder of Burnt Faith, said: “This three-year journey was inspired by a trip to Cognac which triggered the seed of the idea for Burnt Faith. I left inspired, not by what Cognac brands are but more by what they could never be. Compared to most spirit categories, there has been virtually no liquid innovation in brandy, especially as the appellation rules for Cognac keeps production very traditional.

“But this opportunity inspired our ethos to create a ‘brandy without boundaries’, as we aren’t restricted by the same laws as a Cognac. We don’t need to follow those rules, so why would we? We are free to unleash what we believe is the true potential of this category, using more aromatic grape varieties, explorative production techniques and different ageing casks is just the beginning,” Wright added.

Founded by Wright, previously founder of Hawkes Cider, which was acquired by BrewDog in 2018, early additions to the Burnt Faith team include Oliver Kitson as master distiller and Jean Dominique Andreu as non-executive director.

Having helped set up and scale up Sipsmith’s distillery operations in Chiswick, Kitson also launched The Republic of Fremantle grape-to-bottle distillery in Western Australia. Andreu is a certified spirits industry veteran with decades-long experience in luxury brand strategy for large corporations as well as an entrepreneur, founding brands such as Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Plantation rum and Citadelle gin.

As a new distillery, sustainability was considered in the design and has influenced production and operational decisions, from still design, using recycled glass, to minimising the carbon footprint of supply by working with UK based manufacturers.

Burnt Faith Batch 001 (40% abv) uses four grape varieties, Trebbiano, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat Blanc. It is matured/finished in four different woods, a cherry liqueur from Ukraine, a Pineau Charentes cask, a French aperitif, along with Spanish brandy and bourbon barrels.

Kitson said: “The decision to join Burnt Faith was an easy one. I’d done everything I wanted to do in gin and was looking for a new challenge. Firstly, I’d wanted to work with brandy as a liquid. I’d laid down a few casks of brandy in Australia and it was something I really wanted to do more of and explore. Second, was Simon’s ambition for the brand, the positioning, intention, production process and flavour profile of what we were going to create was exciting and different.”