Colburn distillery goes from strength to strength

Rishi Sunak, right, is pictured with, from left Sophie Heslop-Charman, Sarah and Tony Brotherton and Kael Place – with some of the distillery’s product range.

A Colburn spirit maker is going from strength to strength on the back of a strong Yorkshire brand and distilling excellence.

The Yorkshire Dales Distillery was established just a year ago but it has established itself in a highly competitive market and is now expanding.

Founders Tony and Sarah Brotherton outlined their year of success and their plans for the future during a visit to the distillery by Richmond MP Rishi Sunak.

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Mr Brotherton, a retired Army officer who served 18 years with the Royal Artillery, said the business now employed six people with the recent recruitment as production assistant of REME Veteran Kael Place. An apprentice will start shortly.

He said: “We are very pleased with the progress we have made in our first full year. Artisan gin is a very competitive market but we now have more than 100 outlets selling our products and we have plans to expand that distribution network.”

Mr Brotherton said the key to the success of their three gins and one vodka was local provenance. The Swale Valley water – drawn from a borehole near Richmond – and botanicals sourced from the surrounding area produced notably smooth spirits.

With a masters in brewing and distilling from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Mr Brotherton said the company was all set for further expansion.

As well as growing the distribution network, the company was seeking to exploit export opportunities and develop new products.

The distillery has already diversified its portfolio, producing own-label gin for Weetons deli in Harrogate and teaming up with other local producers like Katie’s Kitchen Preserves at Bellerby which makes a Yorkshire Dales gin and pink grapefuit marmalade.

The distillery’s expansion is being assisted by a Government-backed Start-up Loan. The money is being used to boost stock levels and help with the initial costs of recruiting new staff.

Mr Sunak, who was given a tour of the distillery, said he was very impressed with the operation.

“It is great to see a new business established by local people get off to a good start and I am delighted to hear that the Government has been able to assist with its expansion plans.

“The distillery’s commitment to local sourcing of ingredients and people is exemplary and I wish them every success in the future.”