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The British entrepreneur who ‘turned potatoes into gold – twice’

William Chase is not your average farmer. The Herefordshire-born 60-year-old has gone from bankruptcy to making millions by turning potatoes into crisps and vodka, and is now hoping to make a fortune from apples, reports Hannah Uttley in an exclusive article published by The Telegraph

Chase’s “eureka” moment came when he realised he could make much more money from his potatoes by turning them into crisps, and so Tyrrells was born. “Instead of selling them at £100 a tonne I could sell them for £1,000 a tonne,” he says.

When the crisp brand was sold off for almost £40m to private equity house Langholm Capital in 2008, the new owners went on to source their potatoes from elsewhere, leaving Chase with a glut of produce once again. 

Following a trip to the US, Chase became inspired after visiting a small distillery making potato vodka. Using the proceeds from the sale of Tyrrells, he went on to launch Chase Distillery, which now produces seven gins, four vodkas and an elderflower liqueur. It was snapped up the farmer’s distillery for an undisclosed sum in October by the world’s largest spirits maker.

After years of skin in the game in the snacks and drinks industries, Chase is going for a healthier approach and building his Willy’s Wellness brand, which produces gut health products such as apple cider vinegar and kombucha.

Source: The Telegraph. Read the full article here
Author: Hannah Uttley
Photo: William Chase is switching from potatoes to apples for his latest venture, a health foods brand | CREDIT: Heathcliff O’Malley 

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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