New twist behind the art of gin in Leeds

Jym Harris and his wife Marie founded the Leeds Gin Festival two years ago.
Jym Harris and his wife Marie founded the Leeds Gin Festival two years ago.
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Two years ago Jym and Marie Harris were at the forefront in the resurgence of the popularity of gin.

The couple started the Gin Festival in Leeds with around 200 people and a variety of gins.

And now they are going from strength to strength with 13 Gin Festivals across the country attracting up to 4,000 people and offering some 100 different gins.

Jym said: “I was always a real ale drinker. But a few years ago we went to a pub in Newcastle that had ten different gins which they served with the different garnishes.

“We thought we’d give them a try as there was a real story behind them.

“We started to do a bit of investigating and discovered there are just so many more gins that you can buy which aren’t available in the supermarkets. We thought we’d try to hold something similar to a beer festival where people could come and try different gins.”

The first Leeds Gin Festival was held at the city’s White Cloth Galley.

He said: “We had no idea how it would go down but it sold out. We thought ‘if it works in Leeds let’s try other places and do the same thing.’”

They now have events in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Hull to name but a few.

“The plan eventually is to have 20 gin festivals across the country,” says Jym who has even given up the day job as a music promotor due to the success of his fast expanding gin business.

Jym puts the success of their festival down in a large part to word of mouth. But it is not just gin festivals which are seeing a gin renaissance.

“There are more and more bards and restaurants offering a wider selection of different gins,” added Jym.

The Leeds Gin Festival will be held on Saturday, July 18.