FOR one couple from Somerset X really does mark the spot when it comes to gin.

John and Nicola Smith recently launched Exmoor Distillery Ltd on the Enterprise Centre in Dulverton.

In their own words they explained this is where they ‘distil one of the UK’s finest small batch artisan gins’.

The couple have invested their own money into their new venture but in John’s case he has not given up the day job.

His usual line of work is as an engineer working in oil and gas fields all around the world.

He works on a construction vessel which deals with salvage and sub sea exploration.

Now as he has more time, he can dedicate more days away from the sea to being on dry land and making gin.

Explaining more about why he took a trip down the ‘juniper road’, John, 54, said: “I have always had a keen interest in distillation.

“Since I decided to reduce the number of days I was working in the oil industry I looked at starting this business.

“The gin market is crowded, but we believe our gin is a classic London dry gin which is complex and has what I would call a three dimensional taste.

“You can sip it neat but when you add a mixer like tonic water or put it into cocktails then our gin comes alive.”

To make Northmoor Gin ‘come alive’, John has infused it with 10 botanicals which he has blended with juniper berries which forms the basis of any gin.

Amongst those included in the mix for this gin are:

- Juniper berries

- coriander

- Angelica root

- Grains of paradise

- Rowan berries

- Winter Savory

- Orris root powder

- Kaffir lime leaves

- plus two other ingredients which all give Northmoor Gin its’ distinct flavour.

As John explained: “To reach the final blend was trial and error.

“We have always liked gin and wanted to find a recipe which we liked and we hoped other people would enjoy.

“Mixing it all is a bit like doing chemistry and there is a delicate balance in trying to get it just right.

“We got our friends and family to try it and asked them what they thought of it.

“They said it was just right and we should stop now as we would not make it any better.

“I could have kept tweaking but I decided to leave it alone.

“More and more people are drinking gin and they are more are discerning about where it comes from and are all the ingredients traceable.

“We make our gin (44.6% ABV) in small batches and each bottle has a batch number and each bottle a number from that batch and comes with a signature (John’s).

“People want to know how far the product has travelled and where it is made.

“What we make is a good local product which is hand crafted.”

Once the gin is made it sits in a tank for three/four weeks before it is ready to be bottled and sent out to pubs and shops or sold online.

The birth of the Northmoor Gin was born in December 2017.

This was when the ball was actually set rolling when John decided to buy the still from a company in Holland.

In order to use the still, he had to go to Holland to do the course so he could be trained properly or they would not sell him the still.

He then contacted HM Revenue and Customs to establish the business so everything was in place and ready for a launch this Summer.

John said: “I love it, all of it.

“When we go into a pub and see one of our bottles behind the bar it is a very satisfying feeling.

“Looking ahead say five years, I would like to think the business can continue to grow and be successful.

“My aim has always been to produce a top quality product and I do not want to lose sight of that or make any compromises with that or the quality of service.

“I would still aim to be independent.

“Since we launched (late July) it has exceeded my expectations.

“We have been very busy with a number of local business and pubs stocking and selling our gin.

“What has happened so far has exceed my expectations.

“We are 100 per cent self funded

“The next stage is to launch our marketing campaign.”

The couple who have been together for 23 years and marries for 12/13years are looking forward to this new and exciting adventure in their lives.

The gin was given its name Northmoor Gin as the couple live in and the business is registered at Northmoor Road in Dulverton.

They said they must have gone through 50 names before settling on Northmoor Gin.

The shape of the bottle plus the design of the stag emblem and writing were all carefully thought out.

Plymouth Gin was first distilled in England in 1793 and is the oldest distilled gins in England.

Northmoor Gin is one of the newest.

For further information about Northmoor Gin and The Exmoor Distillery Ltd you can go online to

You can also email or call orders on 01398 323488.