YORK now has its own self-titled gin brand as production gets underway at the first distillery within the city’s boundary.

York Gin was the brainchild of five local friends, who have spent two years developing the brand and the recipe ahead of bottling the first batch from their Acaster Malbis distillery this month.

The new company has already secured listings across the city, and is available from Fenwick in Coppergate, the city’s Hilton Hotels, and bars including Evil Eye and House of Trembling Madness.

The idea for York Gin came about during a discussion in a pub among York landlord Paul Crossman, former Swan landlord Pete McNichol, friend Harry Cooke, and Mr Crossman’s late business partner Jon Farrow. Mr Cooke said: “We’d go on and on about how we needed a gin - how Durham, Newcastle Leeds and Liverpool were all getting their own gins. But it took a little while for us to get the idea, strong as we felt it was, past the drawing board.”

Meanwhile, unbeknown to this team, local neighbour, marketer and gin lover Emma Godivala was also keen to give the city its own spirit.

Ms Godivala said: “I tried to register York Gin at Companies House - and they said someone had already applied for the name. I did a bit of digging and found Paul’s name.

“I laughed - it was The Swan’s Paul! We knew each other fairly well as local residents and fellow parents at the local school, and I’ve been enjoying his lovely pubs for the last 15 years.”

All five got together and formed the York Gin Company - an entirely self-funded start-up.

The project gathered momentum, and was set to launch in summer 2017, however the unexpected death of Mr Farrow stalled proceedings as everyone came to terms with the loss.

The new year saw the team have pick up the pieces with a fresh determination to success in Mr Farrow’s memory.

Mr Crossman, who is landlord at The Swan in Bishopthorpe Road, The Slip, The Volunteer Arms and The Woolpack, said: “Jon would definitely have urged us to keep going with the plan. He loved the whole idea of York Gin, and was absolutely dedicated to making it happen.”

Mr McNichol added: “We were unanimous that Jon’s share in the company should remain completely intact as a tangible long term legacy for his family. He was at the very heart of the project.”

York Gin is distilled to a London Dry Gin recipe in a 300 litre copper still, named Ebor. Its logo celebrates the city’s walls and its association with cats.