RAISE your glass to Bronte Bars and Events!

The company is among the finalists in the coveted annual White Rose Awards, for its Gin Express Experience event – staged in partnership with the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.

Bronte Bars and Events is one of six contenders shortlisted for the Tourism Event Award.

"Being selected as a finalist among so many prestigious tourism businesses is just amazing for our little but punchy event!" said the company's director, Kath Thornton.

"We are up against some of the greats in our category – including the Rhubarb Festival, Hallowscream at York Maze and York’s Balloon Fiesta – so being chosen among these is a credit to our team and to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway."

She said the Gin Express Experience was originally intended to be a one-off event, but demand proved huge.

"Being a passionate gin experimenter I had identified and started building relationships with small-batch distillers locally and further afield," added Kath.

"The vision was to run a gin tasting event with a difference – and the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway seemed like a natural partner to collaborate with.

"My plan was to run one event but due to the demand created through our social media advertising campaigns, we ran a total of seven events in 2018-19.

"I quickly realised the potential growth of the Gin Express Experience and worked on a plan to introduce an elevated experience for 2019-20. The event now takes place using the first-class Pullman carriage and other stock carriages embracing the glamour and intrigue associated with the golden age of steam.

"My ambition is to create a business that is local in every sense. Sourcing local distillers gives us a distinct point of difference, especially for gin lovers who travel from far and wide to taste our unique samples on the Gin Express Experience.

"The event has gained a following of gin and steam lovers – we even have people who met at last year's event booking again to meet-up and enjoy new friendships.

"Bronte Bars & Events is a group of passionate like-minded people who come together to create memorable experiences and guarantee a good time is had by all. My team is key to the success."

Last year, the company won the Hospitality Business of the Year accolade in the Keighley and Airedale Business Awards.

In total, 92 finalists are in the running for trophies at this year's White Rose Awards – organised by Welcome to Yorkshire.

It is the largest tourism awards ceremony in the UK.

The event will be held, in adherence with Covid-19 guidelines, towards the end of the year.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive, James Mason, pays tribute to all those shortlisted.

"Huge congratulations go to everyone who has made it onto this year’s shortlist of finalists," he said.

"The ceremony is one of Welcome to Yorkshire’s fantastic flagship events and it will be a real privilege to be able to honour the shining stars of Yorkshire tourism, particularly during such a tough year for all in this hardworking sector.

"Once again competition has been tough, with exceptionally high standards, incredible innovation and many excellent examples of business brilliance demonstrated across the county. This will be a fabulous opportunity to promote and celebrate all that’s great about Yorkshire. Good luck to everyone!"

Awards chairman, Elaine Lemm, added: "During a difficult year for so many, it’s been such a positive experience for the awards' panel of prestigious industry-wide experts to see the excellent entries. The standard has again been incredibly impressive and has made choosing finalists pretty difficult. However, it’s truly inspiring to see the range of fabulous venues and wonderful attractions out there, offering such high levels of service in this beautiful county. As always, it is easy to see why Yorkshire has an outstanding and continued reputation for top-class tourism and hospitality excellence."

Finalists also include Higher Scholes Cottage at Oakworth (see keighleynews.co.uk/news/18608211.higher-scholes-cottage-oakworth-finalist-white-rose-awards/)