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NB Gin launched by new micro-distillery

UK husband and wife team Steve and Viv Muir have just fulfilled a long-held ambition to set up a gin micro-distillery (NB Distillery Ltd) in their home town of North Berwick to produce their own brand of handcrafted premium gin.

NB Gin has been made from pure British grain spirit and a combination of seven botanicals. The gin is stilled, blended, bottled and labelled by hand in North Berwick in small batches. The still was custom built in London.

NB Gin was launched this month at Lockett Bros in North Berwick, and there are plans to expand to other stockists as demand grows. It has already been snapped up by Vino Wines, Royal Mile Whiskies and Drinkmonger, and it’s being trialled at the bar in Edinburgh’s Harvey Nichols store, and Juniper, a new bar on Edinburgh’s Princes Street. In addition, it’s being sold, served or trialled at a number of shops, bars, hotels and restaurants in East Lothian.

Steve Muir says: “Gin is making a comeback, but it’s very different this time round. Consumers are drinking less but are more discerning about quality and that’s what our product is all about. NB Gin is unashamedly traditional, but provides a balanced flavour and strength which is not overly complicated. All the flavours needed to enjoy it are there already and there’s no real need to add a garnish. It works either on its own with a block or two of ice, traditionally mixed with a quality tonic, or is equally at home in the classic gin martini or the delicious aperitivo, Negroni.”

Industry figures show just how much sales at the quality end of the market are growing. According to data from Nielsen, the consumer analysts, gin production in Britain has grown by 23 per cent in a decade, and at the premium end, sales increased by 18 per cent between 2007 and 2012.

As part of their product development process, Steve and Viv engaged the services of Charles Maxwell at Thames Distillers in London, whose family has been distilling gin for more than 300 years. Together with his head of quality control, Gema Zaragoza, they agreed to be part of the official tasting committee for NB Gin and concluded that it was “a fine gin that was extremely likeable”. High praise indeed from the industry experts, and a fantastic endorsement from a company that produces more than 40 gins for 30 brands.

Viv Muir adds: “NB Gin has been a long time in the making, and thankfully it’s a very good time for us to be entering the market. But the most exciting part is that we have launched it in our home town. The support has been fantastic and there’s been a bit of a buzz about our gin being produced locally, which people really like. We hope that this is just the start. There are no boundaries to our geographical reach, so we look forward to what the future holds for us. It’s been a labour of love to ensure that we never compromise on quality, but a fantastic one.”

28 October 2013 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor