Home-distilled festive spirit

Kane Yeardley and Robert Jones with the first batch of True North gin
Kane Yeardley and Robert Jones with the first batch of True North gin

Sheffield’s first home-distilled gin in more than a century hit city bars this week.

True North Gin, distilled at the Stancill Brewery in Kelham Island, is now available at Forum Café Bar sites across the area – and early feedback suggests it’s going down a treat.

The artisan spirit has been produced by Rob Jones of Nether Edge, who set up his still after being awarded a bursary at Sheffield Hallam University.

True North is the only gin currently made in Sheffield. (Locksley gin was developed here but is distilled in London.)

Rob works at the Old House in Devonshire Street – a gin specialist bar – and has been supported throughout the project by Kane Yeardley, owner of the Forum Café Bar Group.

“Rob is the star; his knowledge and constant enthusiasm made this happen,” said Kane.

But as boss he can take credit for backing the venture...

“When he suggested applying for the bursary to get a gin distiller, a lot of people laughed, but I said ‘crack on’. I said we could set it up in the brewery – and off we went.”

Rob acquired a copper still and spent months experimenting with locally-sourced botanicals including juniper, bilberries and gentian.

“I started with very small batches, adjusting each to how it tasted,” he said.

“What I’m making now is better than a lot of the stuff that’s in the shops.”

Kane added: “We’re all delighted with the results and we’re confident that people will be pleasantly surprised.”

The first commercial batch of 25 bottles was hand distilled last week and is now available at Forum Café Bars including the Old House, The York in Broomhill and the Broadfield in Abbeydale.

It retails at £3.50 a shot, with tonic thrown in for free throughout December.