A former architect and doctor are one step closer to creating a craft whisky and gin revolution in Yorkshire, with the launch of their start up distilling business. Chris Jaume and his fiancé Abbie Neilson will use a £75,000 funding package from NatWest to support the installation of a 900-litre copper still at their self-built distillery in Sutton-on-the-Forest.
Chris and Abbie, both 31, were inspired to quit their jobs and set up Cooper King Distillery, after witnessing the popularity of craft whiskies during their travels round Australia three years ago.
Specialising in the production of craft gins and whiskies created with quality and where possible locally sourced ingredients and botanicals, the duo hope to establish the site as a destination venue for whisky and gin lovers. The arrival of the copper still marks the end of four years of business planning and will enable distilling to begin on site.
The first batch of Cooper King Gin will be available in May, and the first whiskies as early as 2022, following a four-year aging process. Products will be sold online and at the distillery, as well as several independent Yorkshire retailers.
In addition to funding from NatWest, Cooper King has generated a further £65,000 of finance through its Founders Club, crowd funding initiative. So far it has more than 300 members who will be rewarded with the chance to shape the future of the company.
The business has just employed its first full time staff member and hopes to create at least two further jobs within the next six months.
Chris said: “After seeing the popularity of craft whisky in Australia we wanted to replicate what they were doing here in Yorkshire. Over the last four years, Abbie and I have been busy building the foundations for the distillery and now with this funding from NatWest we are able to complete the final piece of the puzzle.
“Britain is undergoing a boom in craft brewing, with people beginning to care more where the spirits they drink come from. Cooper King will be at the heart of this revolution here in Yorkshire and we can’t wait to take our products to market.”
Simon Winterburn, Relationship Manager at NatWest, said: “Chris and Abbie are extremely passionate about what they do. They have created a unique business, which places quality of craft produce at its heart. We wish them the best of luck in their venture.”