North Yorkshire distillery Cooper King is celebrating passing a major landmark after it filled its first casks to produce its inaugural single malt whisky.
One of only a handful of distilleries in England making single malt whisky, Cooper King Distillery is making use of exclusive casks which have previously held Australian fortified wine and Spanish sherry.
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The development comes as the firm, based near York, announces a new partnership with an American whiskey distillery in Kentucky, enabling the distillery to source bourbon casks to add to the character of the maturing spirit.
Chris Jaume, co-founder, said: “Filling these first casks is the culmination of five years of hard work and the start of a wonderful whisky journey.
“We have already received fantastic feedback on the malt spirit and are confident we’ve chosen the best casks for the first batches of whisky.”
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Having mashed, fermented and then distilled the unaged spirit in the only copper pot still outside of Australasia, Cooper King Distillery has worked with the last remaining cooper in the UK,
Alastair Simms of neighbouring Ripon, to cooper the small 100-litre casks for the North Yorkshire distillery.
The spirit will remain in cask for three to five years, with the founding duo committed to releasing the whisky only when it reaches peak maturity.
The new-make spirit being filled into the casks has already had acclaimed reviews from distillers as far as Australia including Katie Groves of world-famous whisky bar and shop Milroy’s of Soho.
The first cask is being bottled exclusively for the distillery’s Founders’ Club members. The crowdfunded approach was set up to allow craft spirit lovers a unique opportunity to become part of the Cooper King family and help make English distilling history.
The first self-built gin and whisky distillery in England, Cooper King Distillery also produced its first batch of Dry Gin which was released in May 2018 and has gone on to win multiple taste and design awards.
The firm’s fellow co-founder, Abbie Neilson, added: “We’re thrilled to part of the burgeoning Yorkshire whisky scene and will be raising a glass in celebration of Yorkshire stepping onto the world whisky stage.”
Abbie and Chris were inspired to create the business after witnessing at first hand small-scale distilleries while travelling in Australia.