Yorkshire start-up distillery vows to shake up spirits industry


A small independent start-up distillery has vowed to protect and promote the natural environment by leading the industry in sustainability.

North Yorkshire-based Cooper King Distillery hopes to reach out and inspire more bars and restaurants to review how their current way of working is contributing to the climate emergency and consider sourcing a more sustainable supply of spirits.

Cooper King Distillery are famous for their award-winning Dry Gin, hand-distilled using honey from the distillery’s own beehives, lemongrass and a touch of locally grown lavender, all produced in micro-batches by uniting state-of-the-art vacuum distillation with a traditional copper pot still.

This entire production process is powered by 100% green energy and includes a closed-loop cooling system that has already saved 13 tonnes of fresh water this year.

Cooper King were the first distillery in the UK to introduce a ground-breaking gin refill scheme where customers bring their empty gin bottles for a refill, saving them £6 off a new bottle. Those bottles were specially selected as a lightweight alternative to the heavy glass favoured by premium spirit brands and weigh 300 grams less on average. The bottle uses less raw materials and is lighter to transport, thus cutting down toxic emissions.

Cooper King is also recognised as the only distillery in Europe that carries the 1% for the Planet logo on its bottles, pledging a minimum of 1% of their gin sales to their partner charity, the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

After recently going beyond the minimum commitment and donating 2.5% of gin sales to this charity, over 4000 square metres of new woodland has been planted in the Yorkshire Dales thanks to this philanthropic partnership.

Commenting on their sustainability focus, co-founder and distiller Abbie Neilson said:

“We’ve only recently begun our distilling adventure, but we hope that by sharing our story, we will inspire others to improve their sustainability efforts and reduce their environmental impact.

“We built Cooper King Distillery on the basis that it was sustainable – environmentally, financially and socially. We’re passionate about flavour and are committed to producing great tasting spirits which are considerate to the environment and embrace our Yorkshire heritage.

“We want to let others know that it is possible to be ‘green’ and still produce award-winning spirits that look and taste great, with values that people can really get behind.”

Cooper King Distillery’s Dry Gin was recently awarded triple bronze in The Bartenders’ Brand Awards 2019, and a bronze medal in the contemporary category at the World Gin Awards. In a world-wide competition which attracted over 4000 gin entries from around the world, the accolade puts the start-up in a prestigious list amongst just 17 other contemporary UK gins.

The distillery has also picked up a 2019 award by The Gin Guide for ‘Spirit of Gin’ judged by industry experts on the basis of the firm’s contributions and approaches to energy, the environment, and the wider gin industry.

The Gin Foundry, one of the foremost specialist authorities on gin, commented on their environmental efforts: “Cooper King Distillery go above and beyond and are well and truly leading by example.”