A POPULAR premium drinks company has moved in to the former Little Bettys in York's Stonegate.

Harrogate Tipple has launched a pop-up shop, selling its gin, rum and whisky as well as glassware and gifts.

The move marks the family-run, small batch distillery's debut appearance on York's high street but owner Steven Green hopes the shop will become a permanent fixture.

York Press:

Harrogate Tipple is based in the Ripley Castle estate in Harrogate where most of its botanicals are grown in the 750-year-old gardens within the castle walls.

The new shop in York makes the most of the 1920s period style of the property, using the old apothecary-style units to showcase the products.

York Press:

Bettys closed its Little Bettys branch where nine staff were employed earlier this year; the first floor cafe had already shut, leaving its flagship store still open in St Helen's Square.

Steve said the launch could be considered 'a brave move' following the challenges of the past 18 months, but added: "But we came out of the pandemic very well. We pivoted our business and made sanitiser. We still sell it now. We have always rolled our sleeves up and got on with it."

York Press:

He said trade had been 'crazy' since their opening day which coincided with the St Nicholas Fair.

"We have been doing a lot of work with Bettys," he said. "We supply Bettys with our gin and rum in their outlets and restaurants and we recently made three liqueurs exclusively for their hampers."

York Press:

Harrogate Tipple produces gin, rum and whisky, along with special glassware.

York Press:

Christmas cracker gifts from Harrogate Tipple.

The opportunity to trade from the former Bettys premises had come at a good time, he said, as the business had also booked a chalet at the city's Christmas market.

He approached Bettys' bosses who own the building and they thought it was a good idea, he said.

"The first day was great, a lot better than we thought. We still had a lot of people coming in and asking where the fat rascals and macarons were! They ended up buying gin, or rum, or glasses instead."

Steven previously worked in film and television as a cameraman, director and producer, on entertainment shows such as Blind Date and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

He relocated from London to North Yorkshire with his family for 'a change of lifestyle'.

"Using my TV contacts we secured the licence with Downton Abbey about two years ago," said Steven, whose range includes the official Downton Abbey branded gin, concocted using fresh botanicals and Harrogate Spring Water, as well as a Downton Abbey whisky.

The series and film are fictionally set at a Yorkshire country house - with references to Ripley Castle, where Harrogate Tipple is located.

York Press:

Filmed in Yorkshire - Downton Abbey Photo: Universal Pictures

Built in the 14th century, Ripley Castle was given to the Ingilby family as a wedding dowry. During one episode of the series, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Dame Maggie Smith, mentions Lady Ingilby’s pearls.