The Project

Exmoor Distillery Ltd is based at Barle Enterprise Centre. The family-run distillery is home to award-winning Northmoor Gin. Having started trading a little more than one year ago, John Smith has perfected his artisan gin recipe. He now makes bottles, sells and distributes Northmoor Classic Gin, and Northmoor Navy Strength Gin from the Dulverton base. With ambitious plans to make rum at the unit by the end of the year.

The husband and wife team have watched their artisan gin sales take off. Its unique blend of botanicals has seen over 10,000 bottles sold, and it is currently stocked in 200 outlets and picking up prestigious awards and recognition throughout 2019.

The Challenge

John and Nicola had planned to set up the business from an outbuilding at their own home. What became apparent, however, was the space required for the distilling process, bottling and storage was going too far exceed the space available at home.

The Solution

Living in Dulverton, the nearby Barle site offered flexible space and more importantly, capacity to grow the business. With their gin in demand, production has increased. The original 100 litre still has been joined by one five times bigger. Furthermore, when rum production begins, there are plans for the unit to also house a 2,000-litre still. John will be sourcing and fermenting his own molasses, making it a truly authentic and specific rum production process for the UK market.

Being located off a main road, the distillery doors are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. Passers-by are able to call in and see for themselves the distillery, chat with John or Nicola and buy direct from the unit.

Such interest from local visitors and gin fans has led to plans to further adapt the unit. Direct gin sales are proving popular and the unit’s space will be utilised to include a defined entrance with a mocked up bar area, and a better-defined shop front, providing a home for gin-tasting sessions.

From an empty shell, the unit now provides a busy thriving business space, with a second unit being used for storage to facilitate the growing production line.

Speaking about the Enterprise Centre John has no hesitation in recommending the site: The flexibility of the unit has been able to match the business growth, and additional space required for running the business. Working next to like-minded business owners we’ve been able to form working relationships that have had a real benefit to the business.


  • Flexible business space to support business growth
  • Space to expand
  • Part of the local business community

The Future

The response to Northmoor Gin has seen the business grow far quicker than John had expected: We have taken on additional people to help support growing the business, and now have people working on marketing, PR and social media along with a Business Development Manager.

Wholesale sales have grown to make up around 50% of sales to date, and John is now looking at distribution partners as they reach out to outlets further afield than the South West.
John is passionate about making authentic products and the exciting plans to launch a rum shortly will further add to the portfolio of products from the South West distillery based at Barle.

To find out more about Exmoor Distillery visit:

Exmoor Distillery Ltd, Unit 5, Barle Enterprise Centre, Dulverton
Exmoor, Somerset. TA22 9BF

Last reviewed: December 13, 2023 by Sophie

Next review due: June 13, 2024

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