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About us

YORK GIN: A BRIEF HISTORY

The first bottles of York Gin London Dry appeared in 2018 after a group of friends (including one of York’s most well-known pub landlords) decided it was time for the city to have its own gin. The guiding principles of the York Gin Company have always been:

  • only to create gins of the highest quality
  • to treat the planet, our people, our business partners and our customers with the utmost care and respect
  • to be inspired by our city’s and gin’s long and incredible histories - hence our motto ‘History in the Tasting’
  • to make York proud of us
  • to have as much fun as possible

In the intervening years, the company has:

  • won numerous silver and gold medals at the world’s biggest spirits competitions for our range of five gins
  • been described by experts as making some of the world’s best gin
  • become 100% powered by Green Energy, become plastic free, become a Living Wage employer
  • opened a beautiful award-winning shop that is now a fixture of York’s ancient town centre
  • appeared in the world’s media including BBC World Service, most of the UK’s national newspapers as well as the Australian, American and even African press
  • launched a popular range of gifts, personalised engraved bottles and accessories
  • raised and donated thousands of pounds to local charities
  • enjoyed (almost) every minute

ABOUT THE GINS

How and where they are made

All our gins are hand-made in small batches in York's only distillery. The distillery in Acaster Malbis - less than five miles from the town centre and within the city limits - is run on 100% green electricity. We make our gins in our copper alembic still, Ebor, named after the Latin name for York, Eboracum in batches of just 300 litres. We use vapour infusion in a copper still because this guarantees absolute consistency of taste. We also want to be faithful to the traditional methods of distillation. We bottle, label and pack all our gins and gift sets by hand in our sustainable distillery.

The York Gin range

We make five gins – all winners of major medals at the most prestigious international spirits competitions. All the gins use as their base our London Dry gin, described by the Great Taste Awards as ‘perfect’. We spent many months perfecting the recipe for the London Dry, eventually using just nine classic botanicals that would have been available on the Spice Route of the 18th Century during the ‘Gin Craze’. According to expert opinion, some of our gins are among the best in the world.
All the gins come in three sizes – 70cl, 20cl and 5cl miniatures. We can engrave the large bottles with a personal message. The smaller sizes are available in elegant gift packs.

York Gin London Dry

Nine botanicals used by English gin makers for over 300 years come together to form a complex and satisfying classic. York Gin London Dry is all about the perfect balancing of flavours - a smooth, rounded go-to gin that defies fashions and fads.
Buy York Gin London Dry

York Gin Roman Fruit

A juniper-led dry gin with no added sugar, infused with fruits and flowers associated with Ancient Rome - including strawberries, raspberries, apples and hibiscus. The infusion is a Yorkshire-made tea that sits in our London Dry for over two weeks to ensure a rich hue and complex flavour.
Buy York Gin Roman Fruit

York Gin Outlaw Navy Strength

York Gin Outlaw, a Navy Strength 57% gin, pushes the boundaries, as did the city's villains, Guy Fawkes, Dick Turpin and Mary Bateman. Stronger flavours; higher alcohol - enjoy York Gin Outlaw with care, tonic & ice. It is double distilled - the base alcohol is the ‘heads' and ‘tails' from our London Dry, ensuring an incredibly smooth finish to this over-proof gin.
Buy York Gin Outlaw Navy Strength

York Gin Old Tom

York Gin Old Tom is a Victorian-style dry gin, slightly sweetened with a herb-infused sugar syrup made in the kitchen of one of Yorkshire's finest restaurants - the Michelin-starred Star Inn, Harome. The base gin is York Gin London Dry. York Gin Old Tom won Best English Old Tom Gin at the World Gin Awards in January 2020.
Buy York Gin Old Tom

York Gin Grey Lady

This gin is inspired by one of the city’s most famous ghosts, the Grey Lady who is said to haunt the dress circle of the historic York Theatre Royal.
Our London Dry gin is distilled with Earl Grey tea and citrus, then infused with blue pea flower, giving it a ghostly blue-grey hue. The Sunday Telegraph describes it as ‘a masterpiece in subtlety'. It won silver at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2020.
Buy York Gin Grey Lady

THE YORK GIN BRAND

We believe that York has been home to many illegal distilleries during the centuries. So-called Bathtub Gin will have been made in the city - as it was in many other cities – in private, unlicensed houses since the 18th century. York Gin’s claim is therefore to be the city’s first legal distillery. It is also York’s only distillery today. Our inspiration comes from York’s two millennia and gin’s three centuries of history.

The cat is synonymous with gin – surviving gin bottles from the 19th century have drawings of cats on them. The cat is also one of York’s symbols – visitors can follow a ‘Cat Trail’ of statues attached to many city centre buildings. York is famous for its ancient walls as well as its castle (the 14th Century Cliffords Tower) and its ‘bars’ (the four gates into and out of the city). The logo is therefore a homage to both the city and the spirit’s history. York Gin's distinctive lettering uses a font based on the 17th Century Fell fonts.

Some of our inspiration comes from:

  • The Romans, who settled in the city 2,000 years ago
  • York’s outlaws, including Dick Turpin and the city’s most famous son, Guy Fawkes
  • One of the city’s ghosts – York claims to be Europe’s most haunted city

We love the fact that so much of York’s history survives to the present day. Our brand had to reflect this history – with our motto ‘History in the tasting’ guiding everything we do.

We’ve even given our Roman Fruit gin even has its own Latin motto: ‘Veni, Vidi, Bibi’ – ‘I came, I saw, I drank’. We double-checked our Latin with the country’s most famous Roman scholar, Professor Dame Mary Beard of Cambridge University. Incidentally, the professor loves a York Gin Roman Fruit Negroni.

THE YORK GIN ETHOS: WORLD CLASS, SUSTAINABLE, LOCAL

When you buy York Gin, you’re supporting a sustainable, responsible small Yorkshire business that:

  • makes some of the world’s best gins
  • is plastic free
  • runs on green energy
  • pays the Living Wage
  • supports local businesses and charities

World class

When we established York Gin, we were adamant this would not just be another gin company churning out an okay gin for tourists. We were clear that we would only create gins that would be world class, and make York proud. Our commitment to sourcing the best ingredients, using the best distilling techniques and an obsession with flavour sets us apart, and ensures success when we pit our gins against national and international competition. You can be 100% confident you are buying some of the world’s best gin.

Sustainable

100% plastic free

All our products and packaging are 100% plastic free. There is absolutely no plastic in any of York Gin's products or packaging - even the tape we use on our cardboard boxes for trade customers is made of paper.

100% green electricity

Our distillery and shop both run on 100% green electricity, which comes from sustainable sources – this is considerably more expensive than conventional tariffs but it significantly reduces our environmental impact. Our delivery van is 100% electric and so produces zero emissions.

Recycling and upcycling

We recycle 100% of our paper and cardboard waste, any broken glass and any recyclable plastic from our suppliers. We also encourage our customers to re-use their empty bottles.

Sustainability: Future plans

We are committed to further reducing our carbon footprint and impact on the environment with several major initiatives coming to fruition in the next few months.

Local first

We try to source locally wherever we possibly can – this undoubtedly helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions due to transport; and it supports the local economy. For example, local upcycling company PurePallets has kitted out our shop and creates lots of products for us from old pallets and railway sleepers; we work with local businesses like Yorvale and Bessies Yorkshire Preserves. We also support local charities whenever we can. Our two official charities are St Leonard’s Hospice which does incredible work for the people of York and York Cats Protection.

WHO WE ARE

York Gin started life as conversations in The Swan, one of the city’s best-known independent pubs. Three of the four directors who launched the company now work full-time for York Gin. The company also employs four full-time staff, running the distillery, attending events and running the online side of the business. Numerous part-time staff run the shop. York Gin is proud to be a Living Wage employer.

York Gin’s founding directors

Pete McNichol, Commercial Director

Pete is responsible for all things commercial and contractual as well as running our sales and distribution operation. Pete has extensive experience in the licensed trade (running one of York’s best pubs for many years). He is also the creator of our Double Gold medal-winning York Gin Outlaw. Pete initially established the York Gin Company. He also found and negotiated the contracts on our beautiful Tudor York Gin home in the city centre and our distillery - just a couple of minutes’ drive past the Archbishop of York’s Palace. Originally trained as a chartered surveyor, Pete has spent his whole adult life in the hospitality industry. A true people person!

Harry Cooke, Operations Director

Harry runs the York Gin distillery (the only distillery in the city). He also develops our new products and ensures we are as sustainable a business as we possibly can be. Originally trained in computer science with a degree from Newcastle University, Harry spent over a decade running IT teams by day and indulging his passion for distilling and brewing at night. Harry designed and kitted out the York Gin distillery from scratch. Harry is responsible for making all our products and packaging are plastic-free and that we run on 100% green electricity. He’s also working hard on some other major sustainability projects that are due to launch very soon. The international gold medals our gins keep winning prove Harry is doing a grand job.

Emma Godivala, Marketing, Brand & Retail Director

Emma spent two decades working in corporate marketing and branding while spending her leisure hours researching gins from around the world. She built the York Gin brand from scratch, including drawing our famous cat and castle logo. Emma runs all the York Gin social media accounts with their 30,000+ followers. She manages the website (including our online shop) and all our marketing, advertising and PR. (Our ‘ban’ on cheesy Christmas songs in 2019 made headlines around the world, and even featured on the BBC World Service!) Emma develops our non-gin related products. She also ensures that the beautiful York Gin shop is running smoothly (it won Shop of the Year at the Visit York Tourism Awards 2020) and gets brilliant online reviews.

Paul Crossman, People Director

Paul is the current landlord of three of York’s favourite pubs, The Swan, The Slip and the Volunteer Arms. Paul has spent the summer of 2020 launching a major new campaigning organisation, The Campaign for Pubs, which is fighting for the future of the independent pub as a vital part of communities up and down the land. So he is somewhat busy with his commitments! This hasn’t stopped him from looking after our staff – helping us to become an accredited Living Wage employer, and ensuring our people are treated like the family we consider them to be. Paul’s experience of running his pubs has been invaluable for York Gin in its first years and will continue to be vital as we face the challenges and opportunities of the coming years.

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