UK-based alcoholic beverages manufacturer and distributor Halewood Artisanal Spirits has opened its new distillery for JJ Whitley vodka, in Russia.

Located in Saint Petersburg, the distillery was built with an investment of £5m ($6.5m).

Halewood Artisanal Spirits stated that with its name change from the previous Halewood Wines & Spirits, it intends to focus on the growth of its artisanal spirits portfolio.

Additionally, the opening of the distillery is in line with the company’s strategy.

Halewood Artisanal Spirits group CEO Stewart Hainsworth said: “It enables us to offer truly authentic vodka, which is distilled in one of Russia’s most historic cities using superlative quality Russian grain and water.

“JJ Whitley is now perfectly placed to provide supermarkets, convenience stores and the on-trade with a premium vodka range that meets this demand for both quality and value.”

With the opening of the distillery, Halewood intends to improve quality, as well as the JJ Whitley portfolio.

JJ Whitley portfolio includes JJ Whitley Artisanal Russian Vodka available in different flavours.

The distillery will function to produce JJ Whitley range, using water from local 160m deep wells. The company will distribute the range to overseas markets.

Initial production from the distillery will be distributed in the market this month.

Additionally, the company will use the facility to produce Red Square Vodka brand.

The distillery is reportedly the first UK-owned vodka distillery in Russia, and 13th distillery operated by Halewood.

Currently, Halewood operates distilleries in Sydney, Australia, as well as South Africa.

Last September, Halewood International unveiled its plans to open a distillery and bar in Bristol.

The Bristol & Bath Rum Distillery houses two stills with 500l and 200l capacity each.