Hello, our names are Derek and Carol; we have owned and run Corks and Cases Wine Merchants in Masham since 2011. Derek’s brother Stuart also works alongside us a couple of days a week too, he retired as a director of his own company and has helped the business grow in its formative years, and our dachshund “Pinot” joined the business in 2016. So it is very much a family affair.
We both previously worked as senior managers for one of the largest food manufacturers in the UK for over twenty year, so have always had a huge interest in food and drink. After that, we worked as business consultants for a number of years.... then the opportunity arose for us to take over Corks and Cases in Carol’s home town of Masham.
Masham is a vibrant Market Town at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales and is famous for its two breweries , Annual Sheep Fair and Masham Traction Engine Rally along with great pubs, super cafes, restaurants and a number of specialist shops which makes Masham a must visit place.
In 2014 we developed and launched our very own innovative Masala Chai Tea. Full of spices and enrobed in Australian Eucalyptus honey and premium Ceylon teas, the Masala Chai has a huge following and is now one of the main ingredients in our “Spirit of Masham” Dry Yorkshire Gin.
Our Gin, “The Spirit of Masham” was brought to life due to a chance conversation with Master Distiller, Gerard Macluskey. One of Gerard’s favourite tipples is tea. He tried the Masala Chai and loved it. He then came up with the concept of making a gin from our delicious Masala Chai. It was all very exciting and when we tasted the first sample of our Gin we were ‘blown away’ with the result. Gradually the development progressed and other ingredients were added, including the addition of Hops that are used by both Masham breweries. The “Spirit of Masham” was born. We were thrilled at the idea of launching our very own Masham Gin.
We managed to secure premises in Masham that are ideal for what we needed and we started work to convert the building into a working distillery.
The “Spirit of Masham” was launched at the Tour de Yorkshire 2017 and has totally exceeded our expectations. The distillery is open to the public, along with our very own “Gin Experience”, where you are able distil your own hand crafted bottle of Gin, under the watchful eye and tuition of our distillers, using your very own choice of botanicals, this is not flavouring a gin, it is creating a gin unique to you! It is an experience not to be missed.
I have been involved in the wine and spirit trade from an early age. In fact I grew up in Glasgow across from the White Horse distillery which I think is what must have subconsciously guided me towards distilling. From my initial on trade experience I became involved in the off trade which opened my eyes to the wine industry. The many wonderful tastings that came with this certainly helped to train my palate.
From the wine trade I decided to specialize in spirits and their production and managed to secure a job at Tanqueray Gordon distillers. Within a short space of time I attained the position of assistant distiller and began to learn my craft from a handful of experienced distillers with a combined knowledge of over 100 years. Whilst there I was involved in the development of a number of new products including the well renowned Tanqueray 10.
Taking a break from distilling next I became involved in the brewing industry helping to create award winning ales from a long established micro-brewery in Essex.
More recently I returned to my love of distilling creating an award winning portfolio of gins and vodka for Masons distillery in North Yorkshire, where I also created the UK's first ever distilled sloe gin. I moved on from Masons in early 2017.
I am now a consultant and have been working with Derek, Carol and the team in the creation of their remarkable “Spirit of Masham” Dry Yorkshire Gin at their distillery in Masham, where I will be working as consultant distiller and developing further amazing spirits to add to their portfolio.
I was born in Oxford and have lived most of my life in the beautiful town of Henley on Thames. I have always been brought up around good food and flavours, although it wasn't until later in life I discovered the wonders of gin!
After studying engineering at University I set up a mobile cocktail bar business. I had worked part time in the catering industry from the age of 14 and noticed a gap in the market for a quality bar service. It wasn't until the age of 20 that I fell in love with gin! Whilst on a spirits course to improve my palate I tried several gins back to back, doing tasting notes on each. After that it was impossible not to appreciate the amazing range of flavours and styles.
After 18 months of running my business I realised that distilling is where I wanted to be. It was where my passion of flavours/alcohol met my love of engineering. I travelled round Cognac talking to cognac distillers as well as gin distillers there before I set about finding a job. For my first position In the industry I was lucky enough to work under and be trained by Master Distiller Gerard Mclauskey.
There we won many awards for the spirits we produced and I learned my craft. It is all this experience that I hope to bring to the Spirit of Masham so we can push the boundaries to create new and innovative spirits.
My name is Pinot and I joined my owners in the business in July 2016 when I was 12 weeks old. I love to meet the customers in the shop (Especially those who carry doggie treats in their pockets) and I love to smell peoples shoes. My favourite place is in front of the fire on the rug that was bought especially for me and I ensure the smooth running of the business from that spot. I don’t like Gin myself, but everyone else seems to love it. I would rather have a bone from the butchers down the road from the shop. I look forward to meeting all our new guests at the distillery.