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Rum's the word as blaze inspires 'smoked' tipple; Family business rises from ashes with reinvigorated spirit after devastating fire.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Sunday Mercury Writer

AFAMILY toffee apple business has turned one very sticky situation into a winner - by using the fire that ravaged its premises as the inspiration for a new rum company. Simon Jenner's entire crop and machinery were destroyed in the barn blaze at AC Jenner and Son farm - The Orchard, in Hamptonin-Arden, Solihull.

The September 26, 2015, fire destroyed the entire stock that was being stored for Halloween.

Within a year the fruit farmer was back - again mass producing his business's core product.

And the inferno has inspired son Harry and daughter-in-law Katherine to launch a line in bespoke spirits, appropriately named Burning Barn Rum.

Only one year into the enterprise, their rum is already on sale at Harvey Nichols.

The tipple is produced at the farm they share with Simon.

Katherine, aged 29, said: "We were inspired by Simon's resilience and sheer hard work following the fire.

"It was a freak accident. A spark started the fire, which spread to the sugar.

"All the machinery and all the apples were destroyed at the height of toffee apple season.

"As the barn was used to make toffee apples, the vast amounts of sugar fuelled the fire, causing it to spread rapidly. The smoke that rose was so immense that flights from Birmingham International Airport had to be redirected as it was blocking the flight path."

Thirty years hard graft went up in smoke that morning.

Three years on from the inferno that razed the outbuilding to the ground, 31-year-old Harry and his wife have presented a bottle of Burning Barn Rum to firefighters at Solihull Fire Station.

The gift is a thank you for tackling the blaze.

Twenty-five firemen spent two hours battling the flames, but they could not save the toffee apple factory.

The Jenners have even taken a wry dig at the commercial disaster.

Burning Barn is the UK's first "smoked" rum - and smoked with apple wood.

The rum, itself, comes from Guyana and Jamaica.

The couple decided on the venture because the rum market lacks the diversity, flavours and choice available to gin drinkers.

Katherine added: "A love of smoky flavours led us to experiment with smoking rum, and we couldn't believe how delicious it turned out.

"Burning Barn Rum was pretty much born from the conviction that we just couldn't keep it to ourselves!" The unique drink has proved an instant success.

As well as Harvey Nichols, it can be bought on-line from Amazon, the Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt.

Burning Barn is also being exported to Germany.

From the ashes of a near destroyed business, Harry and Katherine have hit on a barnstormer of a drinks concept.

It was a freak accident. A spark started the fire, which spread to the sugar.

CAPTION(S):

| The massive fire that destroyed the barn in September 2015 - the fire inspired the new Burning Barn Rum

| The Burning Barn rum

| Katherine Jenner presents a bottle to Solihull Fire Station

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Sep 16, 2018
Words:496
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