Well it’s been a while since two individuals have enthused me so much about their craft but that’s just what Chris and Abbie, founders and owners of CooperKing Distillery in Yorkshire have just done.
A start up in every sense of the word (they actually built their distillery) Abbie and Chris have enthusiasm and passion by the bucket load and are possibly some of the nicest people you’d hope to meet too.
I’ve kept a close, and envious, eye on CooperKing ever since I heard of their intentions a year or so ago. Their story is great – two backpackers who fell in love with whisky and opportunities came knocking. One day sleeping in cars, the next being hosted by distilleries on the other side of the world to help spread the word of their drink.
They fell in love with Tasmanian distilling, and are bringing a bit of that to Yorkshire with them. Their distillery is small but manageable. They are taking their time to select their wood (from Tasmania) and their still (from Tasmania) and are complimenting it with Yorkshire barley (from a 100% floor malting supplier) and their casks will be build at charred by White Rose Cooperage (see by previous post). This is all great, but what makes me feel they will succeed is their passion for the product. This is no ‘smash and grab’ investment opportunity whilst the industry is riding high.
Visiting them (eventually) on a very cold February morning, I was greeted by cheery Abbie who was soon joined by an equally cheery Chris. Over a cup of tea (we’re in Yorkshire after all..) we shared our whisky stories and I got to hear about their experiences in taking a dream and turning it into something tangible. Green with envy does not even sum up how i was feeling.
However, I don’t begrudge them one bit. Abbie is a scientist and Chris and architect and they have combined their professions to create not only a business, but an experience. They firmly believe in the provenance of a product and are creating an environment for themselves to make whisky, but also for visitors to experience it.
This doesn’t mean there’s a £million investment into a state of the art visitor centre with interactive displays and all that. Far from it. The distillery feels as though it belongs in the Yorkshire countryside and is an environment for appreciating the product and enjoying a dram or three.
Where other distilleries have cropped up and have product on the shelf in the time it’s taken CooperKing to build their distillery, Chris and Abbie aren’t fazed or threatened at all. In-fact, they don’t see the others as competition – but are enthused by Yorkshire’s growth as a craft beer region with growing whisky distilleries too. The more the better.
Hear hear say’s I!
Watch this space !! http://www.cooperkingdistillery.co.uk