A ten-year-old horse box has been giving a new lease of life by an ingenious father and daughter team who transformed it into a mobile bar.
John Shanks from Northamptonshire teamed up with his daughter Anna and family friend Chloe Davies from London to change the Rice Beaufort horse box, replacing horse hair and hay with pine worktops and a handmade bar.
The trio took eight weeks to work on the project and were keen to make sure that any alterations remained sensitive to its original use, aiming to keep as many original horse box features as possible.
Ramps that were once trampled by heavy hooves now sport white picket fences and guide customers to two serving hatches, and where equestrian partitions once stood, there is now a spacious bar from which to serve a selection of gin and tonics.
Previously a dark green, the main body of the horse box was given a new lease of life with a coat of royal blue paint and inside her dusty fibreglass walls were brought back to life with a coat of egg-shell blue emulsion.
The plastic mudguards were replaced with shiny silver aluminium moulds and her door hatches exchanged for chalkboard menus.She says that watching her dad turn a horse box into a bar in eight weeks was a phenomenal achievement to witness.
'It was like wow, we actually did it.'
'We had often spoken about starting a business together and, aside from our love of gin, this was born from a desire to try something completely different to what we do in our day jobs
'I have often worked in the drinks trade and when I saw a mobile bar at a wedding last year I knew I had found a concept that ticked a lot of boxes for me, it was a chance to get back into customer service and all of us wanted to challenge ourselves creatively.'
By June 2015 the lovingly converted horse box was ready for her first event; a festival in the Midlands.
'I have been fortunate enough to have friends around me who have started their own business and I think that gave me the confidence to believe that it was a reachable goal. When I'm not serving gin I work in sales and friends frequently said I had the skills to market my own business.'
'For me it's about achieving a personal dream, to build a company that gets me learning, meeting people, enjoying new events and experiences and seeing the reaction of my customers when they first see the bar.'
Last week the trailer went back to its equestrian roots at the Longines Champions Tour in London, where the Gin Tin served a variety of cocktails and drinks using Sipsmith's traditional London Dry Gin.
Anna adds: 'In keeping with the surroundings our elderflower and apple 'English Garden' proved most popular.'
'What do I hope customers will find? I hope they find that being served a G&T from a horse box is the only way to be served a G&T!
'And of course I would love it if they discovered a drink they had never tried before and enjoyed learning about all the new gins coming on to the market as much as we do.'
The Gin Tin offers a bespoke bar and hospitality service and is ideal for weddings, parties and personal or corporate events.
The bar serves a range of gin drinks as well as other spirits and cocktails, and the team works with clients to create the perfect menu for their event.
'I hope we have managed to create a unique bar that can offer the perfect experience for our customers whatever the occasion.
'We've had a great response from suppliers and fellow traders, everyone has been incredibly supportive.'
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