Vauxhall Distillery

Vauxhall Distillery, Liverpool, England.

Extract from Alfred Barnard’s historic tour of every whisky distillery in Great Britain, published in ‘1887’

Within the memory of living man, the city has started up like an enchanted palace, and enlarged its borders day by day. We drove for more than three miles alongside the Docks, and then had not exhausted them, returning to the Adelphi Hotel by way of the Distilleries we intended visiting. The next morning we secured one of the smart cabs, for which Liverpool is famous, and drove to the Vauxhall Distillery, situated about two miles from the centre of the city.

Crossing the alley we ascended a handsome staircase, to the right of the buildings, which leads to the Receiving Room, built on a level with the top of the Stills. It contains three sets of patent vertical copper Refrigerators, by Laurence, of London, a Safe and a Sampling Safe, and two circular Receivers; the latter, handsome timber vessels, as clean as a new pin, each holding 6,000 gallons, and possessing the patent index gaugers. Our guide here pointed out to us the singularity of the construction of this room, being entirely supported by heavy iron girders and columns, capable of bearing 100 tons. Contiguous is an apartment, appropriated for the reception of malt and oats; it is a large place, 80 feet square, well arranged for the exclusion of light and dust. Continuing our inspection, we climbed a zig-zag staircase to the No. 2 Receiver House, which contains two Feints Receivers, of the same size and capacity as those already mentioned. In the centre of each of these vessels there is a floating-index-measuring rod, and, by an ingenious arrangement, a gas jet, with a circular reflector, throws the light directly on to the small figures of the measurer, to enable the Excise officers to check the contents with rapidity and ease. Overhead is the Worm Tub, which we inspected by mounting a steep staircase; it is a square metal vessel, supplied with water direct from the main of the Liverpool Waterworks. Stepping out on to a spacious parapet, we came to a small house, which encloses a circular Vat, with appliances for making condensed water for reducing the spirit to the required strength.

We next returned to the Mash House, to follow the course of the worts to the Coolers, which are in another building. Following our guide up several flights of stairs, we came to the top floor of a lofty structure, covered with metal Coolers. They consist of a shallow open tank, covering the entire floor, which is 60 feet square, and there are latticed ventilators all round the apartment. On leaving these Coolers, the worts flow through a copper Refrigerator, and afterwards fall into a tank on the floor below, 57 feet square, from whence they run by gravitation into the Washbacks before referred to.

The offices for the eight Excise officers are splendid rooms, placed near the gateway and conveniently arranged. Mr. Bargery is the supervisor.

The firm store most of their grain at the public Warehouses, which are at a convenient distance from the Distillery and contiguous to the water-side. There are also large Bonded and Grain Stores belonging to the firm in Lightbody Street, Blenheim Street, and Maguire Street.

The annual output is 2,000,000 gallons; and there are 150 persons employed in the establishment.