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England's smallest whisky distillery to open in Yorkshire

Published:  23 January, 2017

A Yorkshire couple are to build a England's smallest whisky distillery in the North Yorkshire village of Sutton-on-the-Forest.

Abbie Neilson and Chris Jaume have received planning permission to convert a stable block into a distillery, a cask maturation warehouse, a rustic tasting room and a shop.

The new venture, named The Cooper King Distillery, is currently raising funds through a Founders' Club under the government's Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme. It has also been supported by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and the European Regional Development Fund.

A unique 900-litre copper pot still has been commissioned by the distillery and production is aimed to begin this year with the first batch of whisky hitting the market in 2020.

Cooper King's single malt will exclusively use Yorkshire barley, sourced from Warminster Maltings. It will be aged in bespoke small barrels made for the distillery by North Yorkshire's White Rose Cooperage.

Neilson and Jaume, formerly a scientist and an architect, were inspired by two years spent in Australia, where they witnessed the growth of the craft distilling sector there first hand.

"Our production process will be very hands-on, so we want people to see it for themselves and ask questions about what goes into our spirit and why," Jaume told the Darlington and Stockton Times.

"Keeping our production small means we can source premium ingredients, take our time with the process and use the very best casks can we can find. It also allows us the freedom to experiment with one-off limited batches," Neilson said.

The distillery is named after one of Jaume's nineteenth-century ancestors, who was a lieutenant colonel of the Royal Marine Artillery and a keen family historian.