Whisky distillery inspired by Tasmanian travels launches in York

A COUPLE inspired by their travels in Tasmania have been given the green light  to build a single malt whisky distillery on the rural outskirts of York, with construction due to start this spring.

Cooper King Distillery is the brainchild of Dr Abbie Neilson and fiancée Chris Jaume, who have swapped the daily grind in the hopes of raising the profile of English whisky in the global market.

Following a two-year career break in Tasmania, the couple said they wanted to bring the “honesty, camaraderie and quality” of Tasmanian distilleries to their home city.

Dr Neilson said: “It was all really hands on, handmade spirits produced in small scale distilleries, some of them were even producing from garages, which to us was a huge inspiration.

“As we trained at these distilleries we expected to find really intense competition between them but we found the opposite, they all worked together to help promote local whisky, sharing marketing and shipping. It really helped boost the industry because five, ten years ago not even Australians knew about Tasmanian whisky.”

With England’s whisky industry in a similar position to that of Tasmania a decade ago, Dr Neilson’s hopes Yorkshire’s second distillery will help to grow Britain’s burgeoning spirit market.

Cooper King has already branched out to Dartmoor Whisky Distillery, which is due to open early this year, in the hopes of establishing healthy relationships with their competitors.

The Sutton-on-the-Forest distillery will produce its whisky using premium Yorkshire barley malted by hand at Britain’s oldest floor maltings, distilled in a 900-litre copper pot still and aged in oak casks made by a local master cooper.

The couple are keen to partner with local businesses and have already received support from the York business community. Make it York was just one of many businesses to support and invest in the distillery’s goal.

Dr Neilson added: “There’s nothing else like it, and I think with York becoming quite a vibrant city with lots of different, interesting projects going on, Yorkshire whisky will become a thing in the next few years, it’s just about giving people the opportunity to be part of that.

“With it being just outside of York it will be a good reason for people to travel outside the city walls and come venture into the countryside and hopefully bring a bit more business to the local area.”