A family tradition followed since 1762



You could be forgiven for believing the Whitley story began as late as the 20th century. Yet around 150 years prior, our first generation of family distillers made their mark.

The Whitley family boasts over eight generations of distilling heritage, dating back to 1762. John James Whitley was the Managing Director of Greenall Whitley & Co Ltd and G&J Greenall Ltd until 1942. His grandmother, Isabella, was the daughter of Edward Greenall, Chairman of Greenalls & Co, and son of the Greenall’s founder, Thomas Greenall.




John James Whitley developed a curiosity for finding fine ingredients from a young age. Indeed, in his formative years at Chester Road, he spent days exploring expansive gardens and natural hedgerows for wild vegetation while living among the Daresbury countryside. This inherent love for nature would underpin his life as a master distiller.

To this day, John’s thirst for original flavour combinations and unique infusions lives on in the JJ Whitley name. It is this same endeavour that spurred his great-grandson, Johnny Neill, to create the award-winning Whitley Neill Gin brand in 2005. And why we continue to travel the world in pursuit of palate perfection. Talking of which…


The road less travelled

It would be easy to rest on our laurels after distilling spirits for 250 years. But if eight generations of intrigue have taught the Whitely family anything, it’s that sometimes you have to venture further afield to get things right. That’s why, when we set out to add an authentic vodka to our range of quintessentially British tipples, Russia came calling.

St. Petersburg is a place that possesses all the natural resources to forge the world’s smoothest vodka. Native winter wheat, ancient Cambrian clay, 160-metre-deep artisanal wells. The only missing ingredient was a distillery. So, in 2017, we put things right by building a JJ Whitley base on the banks of the Baltic Sea. From here, we filter, balance and blend several vodkas befitting both our and Russia’s heritage.

© 2022 JJ Whitley

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