Furloughed pilot starts his own rum business

Furloughed pilot Ben Crisp launched rum business The Norfolk Spirit Company with his mother-in-law Theresa Robinson after...

Furloughed pilot Ben Crisp launched rum business The Norfolk Spirit Company with his mother-in-law Theresa Robinson after being furloughed from his job as a pilot. - Credit: Contributed

A pilot has swapped runways for rum since being furloughed from his job last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ben Crisp, 38, from Mulbarton, works for a commercial airline flying across Europe, but since March 2020 he has spent a lot more time in Norfolk after being furloughed due to a drop in international travel.

Faced with uncertainty about the future, Mr Crisp spotted a gap in the market and decided to start a rum company alongside his mother-in-law Theresa Robinson. 

Pilot Ben Crisp started The Norfolk Rum Company with mother-in-law Theresa Robison last July. 

Pilot Ben Crisp started The Norfolk Rum Company with mother-in-law Theresa Robinson last July. - Credit: Contributed

In July, they launched The Norfolk Spirit Company, starting with three rum liqueurs, which were honey and vanilla, cherry and chocolate and coffee, all available from an online shop.

Orders began to mount and less than a week after it went on sale it was stocked at The Countryman pub in Tasburgh.

Mr Crisp, who qualified as a pilot in 2007, said: "I wanted to keep my mind off my job and help my mental health, so this was something I could concentrate on.

White, honey and vanilla spiced and spiced dark rum from The Norfolk Spirit Company. 

White, honey and vanilla spiced and spiced dark rum from The Norfolk Spirit Company. - Credit: Contributed

"Historically, I am a bit of a gin drinker but I quite like rum and there are not a lot of English-made rums.

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"I have someone that helps us make it as you can't go from flying planes to producing really good rum in less than a year. 

"We do the monthly market at Creake Abbey and are in quite a few shops like St Giles Pantry and in Jarrold, we worked with the Norfolk Hub which helps local producers get into these places."

Mr Crisp temporarily went back to work from July until November and is keen to get back in the air as soon as he can, with the company set up so it can operate when he is away.

Ben Crisp with son Sebastian Crisp and Lucy Robinson, sister of his partner Helen, at a market with The Norfolk Spirit...

Ben Crisp with son Sebastian Crisp and Lucy Robinson, sister of his partner Helen, at a market with The Norfolk Spirit Company. - Credit: Contributed

There are now three more flavours, which are a white or dark spiced rum and a chocolate orange liqueur, and all are made at a Norfolk distillery. 

Mr Crisp added: "I want it to keep growing and we're looking at the possibility of exporting it and I'd like it to get more recognised around the country."

Order at norfolkspiritco.co.uk with free delivery. 


 

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