If there’s such thing as a perfect vending machine, it’s one that dispenses cans of Gin & Tonic for free. That perfection recently happened for a fleeting four and a half hours in the Old Street metro station in London.
LoneWolf, a Scottish distilling company owned by the people behind BrewDog, dispensed free cans of pre-mixed Gin & Tonics on Jan. 24. Londoners tweeted at the company using the hashtag #TheWolfOfOldStreet to get a token, and a can awaited them in a dark vending machine with a cloudy forest photo on the front.
“Gin distillation is something that runs through the veins of London’s cultural history and this vending machine installation gave us the ideal opportunity to combine innovation with the cunning wisdom of the past to unleash our LoneWolf Gin & Tonic cans on London,” Doug Bairner, LoneWolf’s managing director, told The Drinks Business.
Part of the cultural history Bairner is referencing is what was probably the first gin dispenser in London. After the Gin Act of 1736 taxed gin to an unreachable price, Dudley Bradstreet created a contraption he called “puss and mew.” Bradstreet rented a house, put a picture of a cat on the wall, and ran a pipe to the street level. Thirsty customers would put money into a drawer, and cheap (illegal) gin would come down the pipe for them.
LoneWolf’s version was less nefarious and probably tasted much, much better. The canned cocktails are 8.8-percent ABV and made with LoneWolf gin and a “bespoke tonic.” Americans might not have that type of cultural history with gin, but we would definitely enjoy a G&T can if LoneWolf is looking for a place to repeat the perfect vending machine.