A SWINDON distiller returned to his home town with a new gin company inspired by his travels in Asia.

Tim Driver, co-founder of Tarsier Spirit Gin, started his company a year ago alongside Sherwin Acebuche.

The 36-year old, originally from Wanborough, was one of the many distillers who attended the first Gin To My Tonic Festival at Steam Museum on Friday and Saturday.

“I was born and lived in Swindon for several years until I moved to Manchester,” said Tim. “It’s so humbling seeing people enjoying the gin I’ve made in the place I grew up.

“We went to Magnum Wine on Wood Street, where I used to go out all the time, and I was really proud to see my gin there.”

Tim was mesmerised by the food he discovered while backpacking in Southeast Asia four years ago and wanted to create his own recipe from the flavours he found.

He said: “I met my business partner in Manchester and we went travelling to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Philippines.

“It’s such an amazing part of the world, we loved the food out there and when we got back here, it was obvious to mix gin and Southeast Asian food together.

“So, we spent time developing the recipe and just like Southeast Asian food we wanted a good balance of flavour.

“We called ourselves Spirit of discoveries, that’s because we discovered all these amazing flavours, that people wouldn’t have known in this country and we wanted to introduce them.”

The pair spent more than three years perfecting their product, from experimenting various recipes in their kitchen to producing the website and labelling the bottles.

“There are so many gins out there, so you have to be prepared to work seven days a week, from when you wake up to when you go to bed,” Tim said. “You have to believe in what you are doing otherwise you won’t last.”

“The challenge is to get yourself heard. Even if you are doing something very different, as we are, it’s how you communicate that to people, how you let them know that you are different, and this is partly the reason we go all around the country.”

“People are really responding to our gin because it’s different. You can be so creative with and put whatever you want in there. That’s why it took three years, it was about being creative, and finding all this amazing flavour.

He added: “It’s been crazy, we launched a year ago, and we are now exporting to Cambodia, Germany and Switzerland and we also have importers coming to us. We don’t see ourselves like a local gin, we are an international gin.”

The Gin To My Tonic Festival brought more than 100 different gins from across the country to the town. It is the work of best friends and gin drinkers Emira Shepherd and Paul Hudson-Jones from Faringdon.

Emira said: “One of the great things for us is that we have so many great brands here. So, we built those relationships. We are now able to kind of give people of Swindon a real diverse mix of gins.

“The best thing about gin is that it crosses so many age ranges, you’ve got all sorts of people enjoying it and you also have a wide range of flavours.”