With many businesses now considering how to reopen in the wake of coronavirus, one gin shop based in York has devised a truly innovative way to serve its customers samples safely.
York Gin has redesigned an illegal 18th century vending machine to allow its customers to taste its gins in a safe environment.
Called the Puss & Mew, the vending machine is themed around cats, which typically features on the gin brand’s bottle designs.
According to York Gin, the vending machine may be the world’s first and was used as a way to evade the Gin Act of 1736 which attempted to stop people drinking too much during the ‘Gin Craze’.
The Puss & Mew was originally attached to the outside of a London house occupied by a man called Dudley Bradstreet who was evading the act that charged £50 for a licence to sell gin.
A drinker would ask if the ‘puss’ had any gin. If it ‘mewed’, they put a coin in its mouth – and the person inside the house would pour some gin that flowed from a pipe in its paw, which went down the drinker’s throat.
The original design has been updated by York company PurePallets who have inscribed the Perspex with the York Gin cat logos and created the holes for the gin to be poured.
The York Gin Perspex version is designed to let customers sample any of their five gins in a safe environment and is completely legal.
A shop assistant pours the gin down a tube through a hole in the Perspex glass and into the customer’s disposable cup. This means both customers and staff can socially distance while discussing the gins.
York Gin co-founder Emma Godivala said: “We’ve always loved the story of the Puss & Mew – gin has lots of cat legends, and our logo has a cat on it too.”
“When we were trying to work out how to serve samples to customers in a safe environment, the idea of a screen and a tube appeared in a flash of inspiration – a modern-day Puss & Mew.”
“The only difference is that customers don’t have to pay for a sample of gin. And what we’re doing is perfectly legal! We’re 100% sure our gin is way better too.”
The York Gin Shop is located at 12 Pavement,YO1 9UP.