Man Who Bought Pub At 'Rock Bottom' Discovers He's Sitting On 'Vein Of Gold'
| Last updated
A man who bought a pub when he was at 'rock bottom' discovered that he was sitting on a 'vein of gold'.
Doran Binder bought the Crag Inn in Wildboarclough, near Macclesfield, in 2016 at a tough time in his life when he was going through a divorce.
"We were living 900 metres away on a farm, and we got divorced," the dad-of-five told CheshireLive.
"I thought if I bought the pub I could be close to the kids. I knew the pub was failing, but I thought I'd just buy it and see what happened."
Shortly after acquiring it, he had to get the water tested as part of an inspection, and he feared he could end up being left out of pocket - but this couldn't be further from the truth.
The 49-year-old soon learnt that the aquifer 27 metres below the pub flows with some of the purest water in the world.
And with 700,000 litres of it - enough to fill more than a million bottles a day - he found himself sitting on liquid gold.
Doran recalled: "Because it's a pub we have to undergo annual testing to make sure the water is safe for public consumption. I invited Blair Water round because they're the company that his historically tested the water every year.
"I approached the meeting thinking, 'I'm going to have to spend ten grand on this water, I know it'.
"So Richard Taylor, who owns Blair Water, comes along and we sit in the pub. I've never met him before, and the first thing he says to me is, 'Do you know how good your water is, mate?'
"He said he'd told the previous owners for twenty years that they should be bottling it and selling it, but they never did.
"He said, 'I've been drilling water for forty years, all over the world, and this is the best water I've drilled by a mile, anywhere.' He said there was nothing geologically to indicate good water in the area, but what I'd hit was a 'vein of gold' coming off Shutlingsloe hill."
A sample of the water was subsequently sent off to be tested and accredited, and after the results confirmed its purity, Doran set about bottling it and selling it in 2018.
Just three months in, a company in the US contacted him and asked for him to send a sample, before arranging a Skype meeting.
"The first thing they said was, 'This is one of the finest waters we've ever tasted'.
"They didn't think I was doing it justice by putting it in reusable glass bottles, they thought the water was better than that and they thought it was a bit of a marketing gimmick.
"I explained that it wasn't a marketing gimmick, it's about environmental awareness and that's the direction I want it to go in, so I held off supplying them.
"They said, 'If we were to sell your water on our boutique today, the 750ml bottle we'd be selling for between $35 and $50 a bottle'. They have bottles there that they sell for $150 a bottle, and that's when I realised it wasn't too good to be true."
His company, Crag Spring Water, now employs 12 people who work in the dining room of the now closed pub.
Going forwards, he wants to continued to grow the business while maintaining an environmentally-friendly focus.
He said: "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.
"When I thought about how this gift came along at the worst point in my life, when I was really rock bottom, I thought someone's looking out for me here, and I want to do everything I can to make the product as environmentally-friendly as I can."