26 June 2019
Yorkshire’s self-built distillery begins whisky production
A Yorkshire-based start-up distillery announced that distillation of its inaugural single malt whisky has begun.
Based in Sutton-on-the-Forest, Cooper King Distillery has made the announcement following news that it sold out of its pre-order whisky casks after just 10 days of sales.
The highly anticipated new-make spirit will be robust, flavourful, and unlike any other in the country, thanks to inspiration from the founders’ experiences working with award-winning whisky distilleries in Tasmania.
Locally grown Yorkshire barley will be traditionally floor-malted in England’s oldest working maltings, before being mashed and fermented at the distillery. It will then be distilled in the 900 litre Tasmanian copper pot still, which is the only one of its kind in Europe. On-site maturation follows, in casks coopered by the country’s only independent master cooper.
Commenting on this milestone, co-founder Abbie Neilson said:
“We may be one of the smallest whisky distilleries in England, but what matters to us is not the quantity of whisky produced, but the flavour of that whisky, its provenance, and the story behind the spirit. Sourcing great barley, working with a superb master cooper, and carrying out mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation under one roof allows us to truly celebrate terroir.”
The distillery was founded in 2016 by Abbie Neilson, a scientist, and Chris Jaume, a chartered architect. With a desire to leave the rat race in 2013, the couple travelled to Australia where they discovered the now world-renowned Tasmanian whisky scene.
Drawing on inspiration gained during their travels, Abbie and Chris gave up their established careers to set up a truly independent, self-built and sustainable distillery at home in Yorkshire.
Chris Jaume, co-founder of Cooper King Distillery commented:
“Five years ago Abbie and I quit our jobs, flew to Australia, and fell in love with the Tasmanian way of making whisky. Since then we have worked incredibly hard to realise our dream of distilling an English whisky underpinned by craftsmanship, honesty and adventure. We are thrilled that the day has come, and malt spirit is flowing at the distillery.”
Cooper King Distillery set up a ‘Founders’ Club’ in a bid to offer craft spirit lovers a unique opportunity to become part of the Cooper King family and help make English distilling history. With a variety of membership tiers starting from £30, ‘copper members’ will be the first to benefit from the inaugural whisky.
More than 75% of copper memberships have been sold and 220 bottles of whisky drawn from the distillery’s first-filled cask, including the highly prized bottle No. 1, will be sent to copper members of the distillery’s Founders’ Club, as a reward for their contribution to the venture.
The first self-built gin and whisky distillery in England, Cooper King Distillery had a team of friends, family and Founders’ Club members working together on the construction. Following completion, the first batch of gin was released in May 2018.
With a strong focus on having a positive impact on the environment, a percentage of gin sales are donated to plant trees in the Yorkshire Dales, and the entire distillery is powered by 100% green energy.