Doran Binder was “at rock bottom” when he bought a struggling pub in rural Cheshire following his divorce in 2016.
The 49-year-old landlord bought The Crag Inn in Wildboarclough to be near his six children when he was not working at his job which often took him to the US, but not long after taking on the small country pub near Macclesfield, he had to get the water tested as part of an annual inspection to make sure it was safe for the public to drink.
And this was when he discovered a “liquid goldmine”.
Doran feared this test was going to be costly, with inspectors having to dig deep – but he soon learned that the aquifer that runs 27 metres below the pub flowed with some of the purest water in the world.
700,000 litres of this “exceptionally high quality” water was found, which is enough to fill more than a million bottles a day.
The water was that “unique” to the surrounding area that Doran was approached by a boutique US drinks manufacturer that sells high-end mineral water to elite clients for up to $150 a bottle – but he turned them down, instead deciding to run his own glass bottling operation straight from the pub.
He says he’s regularly receiving calls from India, China, the US and further afield from companies looking to import his water.
His company, Crag Spring Water, now employs 12 people who operate out of the pub’s old dining room as the pub is now closed and the water business is the main focus.
Doran says he is passionate about the firm being “environmentally and socially-friendly”.
All his bottles, labels, and crates are reusable, the bottle caps are recyclable, and the business employs staff with learning difficulties in collaboration from the Rossendale Trust – which says the firm is “a shining example” of those people “the opportunity to show how valuable they can be”.
“I’ve been gifted this and want to give something back,” Doran told Cheshire Live.
“I want my children to be proud and know it’s not all about profit, but about sustainability and making a difference.”
He also intends to keep the business growing and has big plans for the future, adding: “We want to grow it as big as we can but I don’t mean big in a financial sense, I mean big in terms of making a difference.
“We’ll be building a 10m by 25m unit on the land, then it’ll be automated, and when it’s automated we’ll produce in an hour what we’re currently doing in a day.”
Featured Image – Crag Spring Water
‘Significant risk’ of UK gas shortages this winter, regulator warns
Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that the UK faces a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter.
According to reports in The Times, the regulator has unveiled concerns that the country could face blackouts over the coming months thanks to an undersupply of gas to Europe caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Warning that a “gas supply emergency” could be looming ahead, the energy regulator has said that some gas-fired power plants could see their supplies cut off, which in turn would stop generators from producing electricity.
The alert comes just days before an expected update from the National Grid on the likelihood of countrywide power cuts this winter.
Responsing to arequest from SSE, which owns several gas power stations, Ofgem outlined what is set to be a huge issue of concern given that the UK relies on large gas plants to produce the biggest share of its electricity supply.
The regulator also pointed to rules that could see power plants penalised as a result of shortages, warning of a worst-case scenario that would see the “potential insolvency of gas-fired generators” caused by rules that require plants to pay huge charges if they fail to deliver on promised quotas.
Adding that the issue must be addressed to prevent a “significant impact on the safety and security of the electricity and/or gas systems”, the regulator echoed concerns now widespread in Europe as its comments followed a similar statement made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this morning.
Europeans are already being told they must lower their thermostats and boilers in preparation in case gas supplies are cut off, with Paris-based agency IEA warning today that the EU must focus on getting underground gas reserve levels to 90% of capacity in case of a complete Russian supply shut-off.
Preparation are already being made in Europe with the German government having approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter to limit use in public buildings. In France, meanwhile, companies have already been warned they may face energy rationing this winter.
Whilst the UK government is yet to announce any energey saving measures, Ofgem has said that it expect s“this winter to be more challenging than last year” and that it is taking “reasonable regulatory steps to mitigate and reduce the risks”.