A DARLINGTON independent distillery has taken home bronze for its "quirky" red wine gin in an international competition where it was up against 1,000 others.

Little Quaker Distillery, distilled in Darlington, has won bronze at an international competition where over 90 countries and 1,000 distilleries had gins competing.

This is the second year running Little Quaker Distillery, which is a side project created by couple Paul, 44, and Leanne Colman, 41, has achieved a bronze accolade.

Mr Colman, who was "born and bread" in Haughton le Skerne and lives there with wife Leanne, from Richmond, said: "Last year was amazing. We were so proud to have gone up against some of the biggest names in the industry. We were super stoked because these are very prestigious awards in the industry.

"This year our red wine gin Ruby Red, which we were apprehensive about sending it because it's a bit quirky, won. We found out two days before the announcement and were absolutely bursting with pride but couldn't tell anyone."

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The two-year-old distillery is run out of a residential property in Darlington but will soon be moving into city centre premises, where the couple hope to attract visitors to the town they are "so proud of".

Mr Colman, who, alongside Mrs Colman, spends weekends distilling and weekday evenings packing and delivering orders on the side of their full time jobs, added: "Every city has a distillery, like London and Edinburgh. We wanted to create a tourist attraction to show people the town we are so proud of.

"Darlington has a rich history and the town centre is so underutilised. There are wonderful attractions from the clocktower, industry and the railway to the football club.

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"Calling ourselves Darlington Gin was too obvious, we wanted something locals would connect to but outsiders wouldn't have a preconception of."

On deciding to open a distillery, the man went to London to learn how and now, two years later, plans to run gin tasting sessions and tours once in the Clark’s Yard site.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the couple also made hand sanitiser for local businesses.

"We are fiercely proud of Darlington and I ask people to support local businesses, especially pubs, in this tough time, because they support us,"the man added.