Five Minutes With… A Master Distiller

Joanne Moore

Joanne Moore is Master Distiller at G&J Distillers, producers of a selection of premium class gins. This year she celebrates 20 years in the industry, and ten years as a Master Distiller. Here, Joanne tells us who inspires, her, what her hopes are for the future, and why there’s a gin out there for everyone!

How did you become a distiller and what lead you down this career path?

I’m celebrating my 10th anniversary as Master Distiller and 20 years in the industry this year so it’s been quite a journey. I joined the company G&J Distillers ( formally known as G&J Greenall) in 1996 straight after finishing my degree in Biochemistry, with the intention of this being a stop gap until I worked out what I actually wanted to do with my life. I’ve always been interested in science and have a natural creative side,  but it was not until I was exposed to the wonderful world of botanicals and distillation through my role as Quality Manager & NPD  that these two skill sets  came into their own. I have often described myself as an accidental distiller. It’s not something I set out to do, it  just happened naturally.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be a doctor when I was very young or anything scientific as I loved both those subjects at school.

What does a typical day involve?

There is no typical day but that’s what keeps the role fun! If I am on site at the distillery I test products on the tasting panel, approve botanical and spirit samples, work on new projects in the lab along with answering my  email traffic, which is part of most of our jobs nowadays. Some days I attend industry events as a guest speaker or I judge a Gin competition. The most exciting part is doing Gin master classes on our brand portfolio  Greenall’s, BLOOM, Berkeley Square, Opihr  and Thomas Dakin which I created.

Have you encountered any prejudice because you are female? 

My mother always taught me to choose my battles wisely and be true to myself,  I try to use these skills in all aspects of my life where I encounter difficulties.

You have a young family, how do you balance work with a personal life?

I’d like to consider myself as very organised, but also I have realised as I have gotten older, that you need to learn to prioritise the important things in both your work and personal life, to find the balance that works for you as an individual.

Are you sick of gin yet?!

Ha ha – never, there is so much choice and variety . Whilst gin and tonic is the most popular way to drink gin there are some other mixers that work equally well , such as my favourite cocktail a BLOOM French 75 – Gin & Bubbles

What is your preferred tipple on a night out?

A BLOOM French 75 gin cocktail

What advice would you give to someone not familiar with gins? What are good entry drinks and what would you recommend for connoisseurs?

I truly believe the portfolio of gins we have has a gin for everyone. Whether that’s BLOOM which is a light floral gin and a good premium entry drink or for the connoisseur, we have Berkeley Square, which is a super-premium gin, best enjoyed neat on the rocks much the same way you enjoy a malt whisky. If you are a more traditional gin drinker we have Greenall’s which is a great everyday traditional gin or Thomas Dakin which is juniper led but with a savoury kick on the palette. Finally, for those more adventurous types, we have Opihr which is our oriental spiced gin which is very different to any other gin.

 

How has the public perception of gin changed? 

Spirits, in general, are continuing  to perform well in both the on and off trade with volume and value sales up in most areas of the category. Gin is again the shining light, passing yearly value sales of £400m in the off trade for the first time. There is now more choice of gins available for the consumer and there is a real buzz around the category, this is picked up not only in trade publications but also in media publications so the word about gin is spreading and recruiting a younger audience.

Who are the strong women in your life?

The women in my immediate family are strong characters along with some of my close friends. Although we all have our own weaknesses and troubles to deal with from time to time, we very much support each other and we learn and grow from each other’s experiences.

Who are your female role models?

This is a difficult one to answers as there are so many.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Continuing  to enjoy life, being creative and still being involved in the industry.

 

Emily Cleary

Emily Cleary

After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!) slower pace of life in the suburbs. With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing her toddlers round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds the babies. If only!

 

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