September 16, 2021

York Gin shop set to re-open with free tasters from eccentric vending machine

The iconic York Gin shop is re-opening from lockdown on Monday (12th April) and will serve free samples from a socially-distanced contraption based on the world’s first vending machine.

Staff will stand behind a Perspex screen and pour the gin through a stainless steel pipe into a compostable cup held by the customer. This ensures they can have a safe, socially-distanced chat about the gin while the customer tastes it.

The contraption is based on the world’s first vending machine, known as a ‘Puss ’n’ Mew’, that was invented during the 18th Century gin craze. During this period customers would buy illicit gin from the cat-shaped machine attached to the outside of a house by putting a penny in a slot and being served through a lead pipe. It was a way to get around a ban on gin sales. 

Thankfully the York Gin vending machine has no lead – and no pennies change hands during the free tasting.

Jo Hird and Susannah Baines of York Gin show off the Pus ’n’ Mew machine

York Gin co-founder and marketing director, Emma Godivala, says: “Before the latest lockdown, customers loved our Puss ‘n’ Mew machine. They adored the fact that they could relive a bit of gin’s history in our shop. 

“It was originally introduced because of safety concerns, but has actually turned into a real talking point – something customers really appreciate. We think we’ll keep it in place even when the Covid crisis has passed.”

The York Gin shop is located at Sir Thomas Herbert’s House, 12 Pavement, York, YO1 9UP and will be open from 10.30 until 5.30 seven days a week from Monday 12th April. Customers who can’t make it into the centre of York can still get free delivery from yorkgin.com.