Masons Yorkshire Gin takes top honour

Awards News

Original article: The Northern Echo

By Hannah Chapman Editor

A BUSINESS that battled back from a devastating fire earlier this year took one of the top honours at an awards ceremony celebrating the food and drink of North Yorkshire.

Masons Yorkshire Gin took the readers’ choice prize at the Flavours of Herriot Country Awards 2019, as voted for by the readers of The Northern Echo’s sister paper, the Darlington & Stockton Times.

The company’s base at Aiskew, near Bedale, was devastated by fire in April, but staff were drawing up contingency plans so the firm could keep trading less than 24 hours later. Earlier this month owners Karl and Cathy Mason announced its move to a purpose-built distillery on Leeming Bar Industrial Estate.

Accepting the award yesterday at a ceremony at Tennants of Leyburn, Mr Mason paid tribute to the firm’s staff for keeping the business going in the days following the fire.

The special recognition award was won by Shepherds Purse Cheeses, based at Newsham, near Thirsk, following its success at the 2019 World Cheese Awards. The business, founded by Judy Bell in 1989 and now with her daughters at the helm, took home three golds and two silver awards.


Director Katie Matten said: “When mum set the business up I don’t think she ever thought it was going to be quite as successful as it has been. It is testament to her and her vision, and our fantastic team.”

Flavours of Herriot Country Awards chairman Irene Myers described the room as being “bursting with good will and good cheer” for the businesses involved.

The awards are supported by Hambleton District Council, North Yorkshire County Council, Richmondshire District Council, Welcome to Yorkshire, The World of James Herriot and other key sponsors.



  • Breakfast of the year, sponsored by Yorkshire’s True Tours: AJ Spilman & Son, Helperby.
  • Tearoom of the year, sponsored by The Garden Rooms, Tennants, Leyburn: Eppleby village shop and tea room, Eppleby.
  • Local product of the year, sponsored by Shepherds Purse Cheeses: The Home Farmers, Aysgarth.
  • Specialist retailer of the year, sponsored by Rounton Coffee: Minskip Farm Shop.
  • Afternoon tea of the year, sponsored by Mad Hatter Tea: The Joiners Shop, Ingleby Arncliffe.
  • Pub food of the year, sponsored by Hambleton District Council: The Freemasons Arms, Nosterfield
  • Restaurant of the year, sponsored by Yorebridge House Hotel: The Saddle Room, Coverham, Leyburn.
  • Baked product of the year, sponsored by Barker Partnership: The Two Dales Bakery, Reeth.
  • Cafe/restaurant of the year at a visitor attraction, sponsored by Richmondshire District Council: The Station Cafe, Richmond.
  • Customer service team of the year, sponsored by Grand Central Rail: The Old Barn Coffee Shop, Balk, Thirsk.
  • Locally produced beer of the year, sponsored by Hambleton Ales: BadCo, Brewing and Distillery, Dishforth.
  • Young professional chef or catering student of the year, sponsored by North Yorkshire County Council: Jack Baldwin, of The Bruce Arms, West Tanfield.
  • D&S Times readers’ choice: Masons Yorkshire Gin.
  • Special Recognition Award: Shepherds Purse Cheeses.