A new gin distillery opening in Conwy is the first to be opened in North Wales for more than a century – 116 years in fact! North Star Distillery is seeking to draw inspiration from the region by using local ingredients for the flavour and culture for the inspiration. Alongside each batch of gin produced, there will be folk music which has been recorded in North Wales and released online. Founder of the distillery, Matt Rowland, is a folk musician and Morris Dancer who combines his two passions and instils these into the gin. North Star Distillery is believed to be the smallest in the UK, producing batches of just 25 bottles a week. Their initial product, called Merywen Welsh Gin, is to be unveiled to the public at the Caernarfon Food Festival on the 13-14th May. Matt’s distillery was inspired by his involvement with a Welsh Border Morris Dance team, with whom he has travelled to pubs across the UK. He found that there is a growing interest in regional gins, and he wanted to have a go at creating his own with local ingredients. All of his ingredients can be found locally, but some such as the out of season juniper berry has to be bought in. Speaking of his venture, Matt said, “A lot of gins are flavoured with exotic spices and while they’re often wonderful, the ingredients are not local and it’s not what I wanted to do. “I grew up in North Wales and although many of my contemporaries have moved to work in England, I have never wanted to leave. “Why should I? This is my home. It’s not just the fantastic landscapes, it’s the people too, and while many gins are made with local botanicals, I wanted to bottle the culture too.” He also wanted to provide a sensory experience for those who sample his gin, and has asked local musicians to record music for each batch of his gin. “Merywen gin is very like the traditional music in Wales – hard to find but worth searching out,” Matt said. Close to our holiday homes for sale in Wales, we wish North Star Distillery the best of luck, and look forward to sampling their wares for ourselves!