Master Distiller at Warrington’s G & J Distillers and premium gin brand portfolio at Quintessential Brands, Joanne Moore is the guardian of the first London Dry Gin recipe, Greenall’s Original, and the creator of some of the fastest-growing and most-loved gin brands in the world today, including BLOOM Gin, Opihr Spiced Gin, Thomas Dakin Small Batch Gin and Berkeley Square Gin. One of the first female Gin Master Distillers in the world and only the seventh at G&J Distillers since 1761, Joanne is renowned in the industry as a master of her craft. Her the former biochemistry graduate who has driven the company to win many awards for its gins, including winning International Spirits Challenge Gin Producer of the Year five times since 2014, reveals her food and drink loves.

Tell us a little about your work.

It can be very varied which appeals to me as no two days are the same. If I’m working on a new project, I will spend some time in our Spirits Centre NPD Lab distilling new botanicals or I can be researching into different trends, botanicals and ingredients to build up a pipeline of future innovation. I also play a role in brand training with our customers, distribution partners internal teams on Quintessential premium brands, such as Greenall’s Gin, BLOOM, Thomas Dakin, Opihr.

How do you feel being one of the world's first female distillers and why did you want to become one?

The industry chose me. I didn’t set out to be a master distiller of the oldest continuous distillers (G&J Distillers), so I often describe myself as an accidental distiller. I discovered my talent for crafting and creating gins whilst working in my previous role as quality manager. I liked the world of botanicals and how they mixed to create wonderful flavours and aromas. When our previous master distiller retired in 2007, the company appointed me as the 7th master distiller which was, and still is, one of the highlights of my career.

What opportunities or challenges have you relished, particularly as a woman in a predominantly male workplace?

I don’t think I ever really considered being a woman in a predominantly male workplace presented me with different challenges or opportunities than it would have if I was male, I have had the opportunity to create a gin portfolio for Quintessential Brands to showcase the versatility of gin for brands like BLOOM, Opihr, Berkeley Square and Thomas Dakin. I have been able to fully contribute to bringing these brands from concept to finished product on shelf which is always exciting and one that I truly relish.

First drink you learned to make?

The humble G&T was probably the first alcoholic beverage I made - at the appropriate age. A Snowball was one of my mother’s favourite tipples at Christmas, that and an Irish Coffee. Three pretty simple recipes but they taught me that balancing two or three simple ingredients of the right quality is important to the final product – something I am always mindful of today when developing new recipes.

Most memorable meal out?

Lots to choose from eating fresh lobster, whilst sitting at a humble table by the sea on Boipeba Island in Brazil with my husband. We watched the guy fish for it, clean it and prepare it for us. Simple ingredients done well. I think the surroundings helped too.

Favourite ingredient?

I have a sweet tooth so it would have to be chocolate. If I must choose savoury, I love using herbs and spices.

Your go-to snack?

Popcorn, I can indulge my sweet or savoury tastebuds depending on my mood.

If you weren't a distiller, what would you be doing?

I think something creative. I’m a big fan of skiing, the outdoors and like to practice yoga regularly so maybe a hospitality business that involved these elements would be fun to do.

Your dream dinner guest?

My father passed away when I was only 16 years old so I would have loved to be able to sit down with him as an adult with my family.

Your guilty food/drink pleasure?

Cheese and biscuits with a nice glass of red wine – it’s a very different taste profile to my day job .

Who are your Cheshire food and drink heroes?

We worked with Aidan Bryne a few years back with Greenall’s Gin where we created a menu to complement the key notes in our traditional London dry gin.

A place you love to eat?

I love to try new restaurants and support my local community in Stockton Heath and surrounding areas.

A career highlight?

Creating the brands and seeing them on the shelf but most specifically BLOOM gin as it bares my name on the bottle.

What's next?

Continue to do what I love, creating new products and using my skill set to develop and work on other drinks categories.

Joanne’s favourite drink

Opihr Paloma – normally made with tequila but this cocktail works equally well with Opihr Gin due to its profile of rich green cardamon citrus spices notes, luscious grapefruit, and warm black pepper on then finish.

Great British Life: Opihr GinOpihr Gin (Image: G & J Distillers)