Yorkshire gin firm Hooting Owl Distillery unveils expansion plans

Plans for a York distillery to move its operations within the city walls have been revealed.

Hooting Owl Distillery, makers of Yorkshire gin, has submitted planning permission to City of York Council to relocate to the former Society Lounge and Bar site, a venue which has lain empty since the venue closed for three years during lockdown. The proposed location, which will be called The Hooting Owl & Curious Cat Distillery, will be developed to allow for expansion and to offer visitors “an immersive experience” with a large distillation area, event space and speakeasy gin lounge, where visitors can sample the range of craft gin, rum and vodka.

The distillery, which has won several awards for its artisan spirits, aims to become a destination for gin enthusiasts and tourists, putting York on the British gin drinker’s map by offering daily distillery tours, weekly gin tasting events and catering for private parties, corporate hospitality and business networking groups.

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The new operation, which will open daily from 9am to 11pm, would aim to boost visitor numbers, create seven full-time and 10 part-time jobs in the city, and feature an upstairs event space holding 60. If planning permission is granted, the business expects to open The Hooting Owl & Curious Cat Distillery in early 2024, when it will relocate from its current base in Barmby Moor, near Pocklington.

Hooting Owl Distillery, makers of North, East, South and West Yorkshire Gin, was founded in 2018 by craft distiller and former soldier Dominic M’Benga, who incorporates botanicals in his spirits that represent The Royal Yorkshire Regiment. The company donates a proportion of its profits to veteran causes.

Mr M’Benga said: “This is an exciting time for Hooting Owl as we grow and expand. We do intend to stay true to our roots, producing high-quality, small batch spirits, but the new plans will see us join forces with some of our friends in the industry, including The Curious Cat and the Tipsy Toad, which will also be distilled at the new premises.

“This is a strategic move for Hooting Owl, York is known for its rich history and thriving food and drink scene. We’re hopeful that the plans will be approved because we’d love to bring our small batch, artisan spirits into the city, not only to expand our Yorkshire business but to attract visitors and generate new jobs.”’

New external signage has been submitted in the planning proposal which will display the venue’s name, incorporating Hooting Owl and Manchester-based Curious Cat Distillery, a major shareholder in the proposed venture.

Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber

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