An award-winning Yorkshire gin and whisky distillery has donated over £1,000 to the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) to plant 115 new trees to mark International Day of Forests.

North Yorkshire-based Cooper King Distillery is a self-built venture run by co-founders Dr Abbie Neilson and Chris Jaume. Inspired to build their own sustainable distillery after leaving their corporate jobs to travel to some of the world’s most beautiful places, the duo is keen to create and protect beautiful places closer to home, for future generations.

The pair are committed to running a responsible business with all parts of the operation sourced locally, ethically and with the environment in mind.

Having opened less than a year ago, the distillery will make a third sizeable donation of £1,155 to YDMT on International Day of Forests, 21st March, to help plant trees for every bottle of gin sold.


Every year the United Nations raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests and this year it is promoting the theme Learn to Love Forests.

Cooper King is the only distillery in Europe to have forged the partnership with YDMT as part of global initiative ‘1% for the Planet’. Having partnered last summer, it has been so successful that the organisations are planning to run a series of events together. This includes inviting Cooper King customers to join a guided woodland walk in autumn this year. Further plans include the production of a bespoke spirit using wildflowers grown in meadows which are created and protected by the trust.

Having set a target to plant 4000m2 of new woodland (400 trees) in its first year, the distillery has already seen 335 new trees planted in the Yorkshire Dales with a further donation being made this spring. The trees planted to date have helped offset 167.5 tonnes of CO2, which equates to 50kg carbon dioxide offset for every bottle of gin sold.

The firm is one of only a handful of distilleries in the UK to run on 100% green energy. It’s more expensive, but hugely reduces the environmental impact of their operations, supports Britain’s energy independence, and reduces reliance on fossil fuels.

They save water too. Instead of relying on fresh water to supply the distilling cooling system, they use a clever closed-closed loop system to recycle coolant over and over, saving a substantial 13 tonnes of fresh water a year.

Copper King Gin

Sourcing a clever origami-style locally-made recycled cardboard box to ship any orders, Cooper King have successfully eliminated the need for plastic packing materials such as bubble wrap. Any packing material they do use is either shredded cardboard made from the off-cuts of their boxes, or 100% biodegradable potato starch pellets.

Cooper King is also committed to reducing waste and was the first distillery in England to launch a gin refill scheme which encourages customers to bring their empty gin bottles back to be refilled, incentivised with 15% off. This ‘bottle for life’ reduces landfill and helps raise awareness for the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra.

Abbie Neilson, co-founder of Cooper King Distillery said:

“It is difficult to ignore increasing messages about the state of our planet and as a business we take a commitment to sustainability seriously. We’re proud to have built the distillery ourselves, learning how to make it as environmentally-friendly as possible, using recycled materials and local suppliers as much as possible. We are delighted to work with the YDMT which shares our passion in preserving our beautiful natural landscapes and reducing our carbon footprint.”

Cooper King Distillery planting trees with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust
Cooper King Distillery planting trees with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

Established in 2016 by co-founders Chris Jaume, a chartered architect and Dr Abbie Neilson, a former scientist, Cooper King Distillery is located in the village of Sutton-on-the-Forest, north of York.

YDMT is a small charity doing big things to support the people, landscape and wildlife of the Yorkshire Dales.

Michael Delvin, development manager at YDMT, commented:

“Big businesses can learn a lot from passionate start-up’s such as Cooper King Distillery. Our partnership has been a great success and their commitment and donations will not only contribute to the planet’s future but also help improve the overall landscape in the Dales. This support will play an important part in our Together for Trees appeal through which we aim to plant 100,000 trees over the next two years, creating beautiful woodlands that everyone can enjoy.”