‘In the spirit of adventure, we left our jobs in the UK and set off for the freedom of travel in Australia. We returned a year later with a big idea – to build and run our own whisky distillery.’
Distilling gin and whisky from awe-inspiring ideas and adventures
Cooper King Distillery is a self-built, family-owned gin and whisky distillery in the heart of Yorkshire. Crowd-funded and self-built on the site of an old stable, the distillery produces award-winning sustainable spirits underpinned by craftsmanship, honesty and adventure. It is owned and run by Chris and Abbie and their journey so far exemplifies how pathways through life can diverge from the expected in extraordinary ways.
Dr Abbie Neilson is a former scientist and Chris Jaume a chartered architect. But in 2016 they founded Cooper King Distillery which is powered by 100% green energy and is going from strength to strength. Their degrees didn’t take them into the type of labs or design studios you might expect, but they did play a big, big part in taking them to where they are now.
Abbie obtained her PhD in 2013, a year after Chris qualified as an architect. Chris joined an architecture firm and Abbie Neilson was working as a research scientist after completing her PhD in cell biology. But the pair quickly became restless.
‘Before we decided to pack it all in and start again, we were settling in to our first “real jobs” after university: in an architectural firm and as a research scientist. We were living in Leeds, working long hours, and those around us were beginning to get married, have kids and buy houses. We both felt there must be more to life than that so we decided to disrupt things. With a desire to leave the rat race we both quit our jobs and bought one-way tickets to Australia, seeking sun, sand and adventure.’