A FORMER tanning studio owner is toasting the success of a new business venture.

Samantha Long has launched the Spirits of Bronte Drinks Company – and a new premium gin brand.

She had run The Tanning Station in Oakworth for more than 16 years.

But Sam decided to sell-up and pursue her dream.

And after a year perfecting the recipe, bottle and branding, the result is A Yorkshire Lass’ Gin.

The tipple was officially launched at the Haworth Old Hall gin festival last month and is now being rolled out to stockists across Yorkshire.

Although the gin is distilled in the Midlands, Sam has recruited locally-based suppliers and partners as much as possible in the development of the brand – including content marketing agency Engage Comms, whose founder Helen Gill lives in Oakworth; Haworth-based sculptor Craig Dyson, who created oak bottle plinths, and You Just Wood, also of Haworth, which produced an oak bar and display stand.

A close friend, who also lives locally, designed the logo and label.

Sam said: “I learned so much about retail, merchandise, stockists, customer service and suppliers while running The Tanning Station and I wanted to take all of that experience and put it into something I was really passionate about.

“It was a massive risk, but so far it seems to be paying off and I’m so proud of what I’ve created and thankful to everyone involved who has helped bring it to market.

“In terms of the inspiration for the product, I wanted to create something that tasted like when ‘gin was gin’ back in the days of the Bronte sisters.

“As a gin lover, I thought there was a gap in the market for something with a citrus kick but a super smooth finish and I think I’ve come up with the perfect recipe. And I loved the idea of it being inspired by Bronte Country and created by a true ‘Yorkshire lass’!

“The feedback from customers and stockists so far, especially on social media, has been overwhelmingly positive and I can’t wait for more people across Yorkshire to start stocking it.”

Stockists confirmed to date include Santoni’s Italian restaurant and Dolly Rockers hair salon in Keighley; Cobbles & Clay, Sun Street Stores and The Fleece in Haworth, and the Golden Fleece in Oakworth.

Sam has plans to launch another gin in the coming months and hopes eventually to move into distilling in Bronte Country, using local botanicals.