THE owner of a popular Monmouthshire bar is getting into the spirit of business expansion by opening a gin distillery.

Christos Kyriakidis, who runs the Mad Platter in Usk with his partner Polly Langford, said he has always harboured dreams of opening his own distillery.

With many years of experience in the world of gin, including at established brand Plymouth Gin, Mr Kyriakidis believes that the wave of gin popularity will roll on for many years to come.

"In December 2018 we launched our first batch," he said.

"It was just 60 bottles but sold out quickly.

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"We thought we needed to take that next step, which is why we're opening the distillery."

The gin, White Hare, will be made a stone's throw from the Mad Platter in Usk's Bridge Street, at what is to be named the White Hare Distillery.

The new premises, currently under construction, has been designed to the last detail to be tailor-made for the gin experience.

"You can make gin anywhere, but to have a high street presence means more," said Mr Kyriakidis.

"We're going to continue the White Hare, but also different styles and flavours.

"We're also going to create a vodka and, in the future a spiced rum, which I think will be popular too."

As many of the ingredients as possible used in the distillation process will be locally sourced - some from less than a mile away.

Mr Kyriakidis said the new premises will have a different feel to the Mad Platter.

There will be a bar at the distillery, but it will not remain open late. The distillery bar will also exclusively serve spirits and cocktails.

"If people want an ale or a cider they can always come down the street to the Mad Platter," he said.

The main focus of the distillery however, will be creating bespoke gins for hotels and restaurants.

Mr Kyriakidis hinted at having secured some 'good clients' already but they will remain a mystery for now.

Mini stills will also be available for corporate functions or things like stag and hen parties.

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"It will be a tasting experience where we then distil a bottle to that person's preference," he said.

"They can then take that bottle home.

"Their recipe will be kept on file, just in case they enjoy it so much they want to buy some more." The distillery will also include a shop, selling gin, merchandise and glassware.

Mr Kyriakidis is keen to note that, rather than take business away from other Usk outlets, the new distillery will serve to benefit the town as a whole.

"Hopefully, we can work with some of the local hotels," he said.

The planned official opening date is May 1, but gin-making will be under way from April 1.

Further information on White Hare Distillery can be found at and through social media.