Gin-gin to Sheffield’s own ‘mothers’ ruin’

John Cherry, who is creating Sheffield's very own gin, Sir Robin of Locksley Distilled Artisan Gin
John Cherry, who is creating Sheffield's very own gin, Sir Robin of Locksley Distilled Artisan Gin
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Gin ruined fathers as well as mothers in its 18th century heyday.

Cheaper and easy to make, it caused a gin epidemic among the poor and Gin Laws had to be brought in to curb production.

It never hit the same popularity again, in recent decades being considered an old-fashioned tipple favoured by the elderly.

But the gin trade is fizzing again thanks to our penchant for quality niche food and drink products. Aromatic new variations are being made at micro-distilleries across Britain. Last year, the artisan gin market soared by 145 per cent in 12 months.

Sheffielder John Cherry is having a slice of that - with ice. From his home in Fulwood he’s created his own. Sir Robin of Locksley Distilled Artisan Gin will hit the shelves of niche local retailers and gastro pubs from June 20 at around £30 for 70cl. “I have loved gin since I was 20 and am delighted there has been a resurgence. Hopefully I’ll be on that wave,” he said.

John has worked in the beverage industry for 16 years, half of it in France in hospitality management with the Oriental Express group, the rest in New York running liquor stores in Manhattan after marrying an American.

He and wife Cynthia planned out how to set up a gin business six months before relocating to Sheffield with their daughter and have business partner in New York.

John’s gin is “a cross between an astringent London Dry and the lesser-known, sweeter Old Tom gin. “It is soft, rounded and makes a mean G&T,” said John, 45. “The alcohol is made from wheat and the recipe is a blend of juniper, coriander, cassia bark, angelica root, pink grapefruit, liquorice root, elderflower and dandelion.

“It took a while to get it right, much to the delight of my willing testers. I made at least 100 in three-litre batches. The one I’m releasing is number 61.”

John’s gin, named after his childhood fascination with South Yorkshire references to Robin Hood, is being distilled in London but he hopes to move production to Sheffield. “We need to be near a water source so Loxley, Rivelin and the Sheaf are possible,” he said.

Stockists will include Thornbridge pubs, The York and the Forum bars, the Dram Shop Walkley, Stanmore Boss on Sharrow Vale Road, Mr Pickles Yorkshire Emporium on Abbeydale Road and John Mitchell wines at Meadowhead, but John, who will be organising local tastings during June and July, hopes to extend sales across the UK and to the USA

Gin facts

Hammersmith-based Sipsmith London Dry Gin are credited for kick-starting the artisan trend in 2009 with the first gin to be distilled in the capital for more than 200 years.

The Government used to prefer a smaller number of larger distillers and didn’t excise small stills, but relaxed its stance six years ago.

London has a gin club and even a gin museum, the Ginstitute, in Portobello Road.