2/16/2019 2 Comments
You read that right, we went on a GIN TOUR of York with Brewtown Tours who kindly gifted Blog Up North influencers this trip.
As you may know the Blog Up North team is made up of some of the best northern content creators and we work with brands and businesses to create amazing content. So when Brewtown Tour invited us and industry experts along for the ride (and a gin tour)… we jumped at the chance.
Brewtown Tours which was set up by York-based Mark Stredwick, takes a group (of up to 8 people) on a range of brewery tours for real ale fans and now a gin tour for the gin lovers amongst us.
On this tour we were experiencing three distilleries – Cooper King, Rare Bird and Hooting Owl. All independent makers of gin with exceptional stories…
We met Mark our tour guide at 10am inside York train station before our group (made up of Blog Up North Influencers and business people) boarded the minibus.
Once we had driven out of the scenic city centre and through the busy traffic, Mark introduced the tour with a real warm Yorkshire welcome and got everyone to introduce themselves and their gin-memories.
It was a great way to break the ice and to get to know one another and also kick off the theme of our day which was all about GIN! I’ll be honest I am no gin-fan and I don’t even drink alcohol (I’ll taste it but that’s it) but I have already been on a real ale tour of breweries with Brewtown and again I had been sceptical but it was such a fun day out networking/team-building and also really interesting. So I knew this would be the same and if I was to drink alcohol I reckon I could stomach gin (as well as Espresso Martinis as I am a coffee addict!).
Cooper King Distillery
Our first stop was a self-built gin distillery (apparently the only one in the UK). Cooper King started out in Whiskey but as Whiskey takes a long time to produce, gin was a good option in the meantime.
Chris the owner (who runs Cooper King with his partner Abbie) said: “A basic gin is a juniper vodka. Just one botanical can make a gin.
“It’s best to taste gin straight first before adding tonic water.”
So after seeing how the gin was made, we tried some gin straight. By this time it was 11am so not too early in the morning to be having a gin!
To my surprise it was really nice, strong but flavoursome. I added some Fevertree tonic which for me made it more appetizing as I am not used to strong alcohol these days.
He also recommeneded adding a sprig of rosemary which changed the flavour again and I copildn’t believe how much I enjoyed the taste.
It was great hearing about him and his wife’s journey to becoming gin distillers and how they made the place from scratch with friends.
After half an hour sat in their cosy bar, trying shots of gin, we were on our way.
The tour is great for networking and team building as you’re together all day either in the minibus or in the distilleries.
Rare Bird Distillery
Our next stop was Rare Bird which is run by retired fireman Matt.
The Rare Bird distillery, shop and gin school are conveniently located in the heart of Malton which is self-proclaimed “Yorkshire’s food capital.”
The distillery boasts a unique gin school where people sit around with their own mini machines to make their own gins.
After sharing his story about some of the trials and tribulations of setting up a gin business, he then showed us around the compact but luxurious space.
This part of the tour fell on lunchtime so after sampling some of Rare Bird’s gins we had some time to either eat a packed lunch or buy something from Bluebird Bakery opposite or the ice cream parlour next door.
The small open bakery is a little gem in itself as you can watch the bakers at work in the kitchen.
Being Vegan, I bought my own food as it can be quite hard to get a proper meal when you’re out and about and not in a city centre.
After a quick lunch we were back on the minibus for our last stop which was Hooting Owl distillery.
Hooting Owl Distillery
We were greeted into the distillery by owner Dominic M’Benga and welcomed into the bunkhouse of his stunning Barmby Moor House.
As we entered it felt like being in someone’s snug dining room. We all sat around the dining table ready for a unique experience in its own right.
A couple of hours quickly passed by as we were treated to lots of London Dry Gin from Hooting Owl’s Signature Gin to the Tour of Yorkshire gins. We compared the artisan gin against large companies who produce gin and we were blown away by the difference.
Dominic is a real showman and we felt like we his friends as he supplied us with copious amounts of his range of gin which are inspired by different parts of Yorkshire as well as his background as a former serviceman.
We could have spent even longer at Hooting Owl but we had to get back on our train via the York rush hour traffic.
Brewtown Tours Gin Tour was a day well spent – brilliant for team building and corporate events, hen and stag parties, and put simply the perfect gift for a gin lover.
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