Living: Countryfile Live

For obvious reasons, we’re big fans of Countryfile here at the Spirit of Yorkshire. And we know that we’re not alone. This week, only Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Poldark had more people watching than Countryfile, a programme dedicated to rural areas – incredible! 

Earlier this year, we were really pleased to hear that a northern Countryfile Live was coming to Castle Howard, near Malton, about 30 minutes drive from the distillery. And we were even more pleased when Spirit of Yorkshire and the Wold Top Brewery were asked by the Rural Business Association to speak as part of their ‘O2 Rural Business Theatre’ programme at the event.

First up was Tom wearing his Wold Top hat, discussing rural entrepreneurship and the risks associated with setting up new businesses in the countryside. His session was hosted by Jules Hudson (who you might recognise from ‘Escape to the Country’ as well as Countryfile) and he was joined by a number of other entrepreneurs from around the north, all doing really interesting things, from cakes to cottages to chainsaw courses. They were all joined by their love of being in the countryside and all showed progressive commercial approaches, weighing up the risk of setting up something new, with the potential for failure plus a determination to succeed. It was a really interesting session and the crowd were also very impressed by Tom’s knowledge of what EBITDA stands for… 

“We set out to build a business that was focused on provenance, sustainability and consistency”

Tom Mellor, founder of Wold Top Brewery, co-founder of Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery

The next session was all about rural careers and the importance of having inspiring businesses that young(er) people want to work for, rather than heading straight for the big cities. Jenni from Spirit of Yorkshire and Kate from the Wold Top Brewery were joined by Caroline from Shepherd’s Purse Cheeses, for a lively debate and discussion with Jules about their three different paths to get to where they are now. They also discussed working for family businesses and shared samples of the products with the audience, talking about the philosophies of each of the businesses and the support available for rural (though not necessarily small) companies. 

We’re very pleased to say that Jules was a big fan of the Distillery Projects 006 that we took for samples and we had a lot of smiles from those in the audience who tried it too!

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