Cooper King Distillery is the latest name to the growing list of new distilleries starting up within the Uk, located just north of the City of York and nestled between the Howardian Hills and the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the distillery is within a stones throw of other major visitor attractions of York and surrounding area as well as the natural beauty of the rolling countryside..
The distillery which will break ground within the next month ( May 2017) will be a small craft style distillery and will be concentrating on quality rather than quantity. Plans for the distillery include the current stable block on site being converted to house the shop and tasting room as well as an on site warehouse for storing the 100litre casks the distillery plan to mature the spirit in.. The initial plan is to produce around 1,460 litres of alcohol in the first year in order to fill up to 24 x 100 litre casks along with 5,000 bottles of Gin, this will be done using the 900 litre copper pot still that will shortly be on site and to use local products including the barley and of course water. The founders Abbie and Chris plan is to produce a ” new world ” whisky, mostly un peated at first but only time will tell if they decide to try a peated expression.. Maturation will take place in smaller 100 litre casks made from American oak that have previously been used in maturing Bourbon, as well as these a small amount Virgin oak casks will be used and some spirit will go into European casks that previously held Sherry, Port and wine and a possibility in the future of maybe some rum casks.. The onsite shop will be well stocked with products including the whisky once matured and also Gin that will be produced on site.. Tours will be available once the distillery in up and running with onsite tastings taking part. There will also be a chance to be involved in the process by joining the up coming “Founders club” for which details will soon be available on the website..
The idea is to be a little different with the malt and here is what they say..
” We’re soon to be making a New World whisky distinct from that produced by our Scottish counterparts across the border. Don’t get us wrong, we love Scotch in all its incarnations, but we are here to produce a truly unique English whisky inspired by our experiences in Tasmania. Drawing on our skills and knowledge gained overseas, we will focus on quality and traceability, not quantity, as we hand-make an outstanding English single malt whisky.
We will mash, ferment, distil, age and bottle our whisky here on site. With two industry experts on board, we are fine tuning our brewing and distilling process. Our brewing consultant has gained a wealth of experience working across Yorkshire over the last 30 years, whilst our Tasmanian distillation consultant hails from one of the finest distilleries in the Southern hemisphere. We expect our first batch to be ready from 2020.
YORKSHIRE BARLEY MALTED THE TRADITIONAL WAY
Our single malt whisky will be made
exclusively from 100% Yorkshire barley, malted in a slow but worthwhile process that has changed little over the last 150 years. We’ve chosen Britain’s oldest working maltings – Warminster Maltings – to supply our malt because their slow and labour-intensive floor-malting process results in a superior malt character expression and all their barley is fully traceable back to the farm of origin. We will combine this malt with pure Yorkshire water to produce our mash here at the distillery.
THE ONLY STILL OF ITS KIND IN THE UK
The 900 litre traditional copper pot still is our distillery centrepiece and the most important part of the spirit-making
process. We’ll use this to batch-distil our fermented barley water, concentrating the rich flavours and all-important alcohol. The copper helps remove unwanted impurities, leaving us with a colourless malt spirit, ready to put into cask. We are hoping to source our custom-made still from Tasmania, which will be the only one of its kind in the UK.
CASKS MADE BY ENGLAND’S LAST MASTER COOPER
Our spirit will be matured in small oak casks, skillfully coopered and fired by Alastair Simms of White Rose Cooperage, right here in North Yorkshire. Although more expensive than the larger casks used by high-output distilleries, small casks produce a rich and fruity malt spirit that will fully mature in three to five years. The cask will impart the majority of flavour to the whisky and all of its colour. Once filled, they will be left to mature here in our bond store. When ready, our whisky will be bottled without chill-filtration or caramel colouring.”
Let me wish Abbie and Chris good luck for the future and I look forward to the day you have you first whisky.. I will be updating this story as it progresses so keep your eyes peeled..