Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 09.48.49Drinkers at a North East bar are full of good spirits – and can now watch them being made.

Poetic License, based at the Roker Hotel, Sunderland, is one of only a handful of operating distilleries in the North East and one of the first outside London to be based in a bar.

Unusually, the distillery’s still, Gracie, is on public display, allowing drinkers to see how the brand’s core products are carefully crafted, before being bottled, labelled and wrapped by hand.

Named after the owner’s daughter, Grace, the 500L copper pot is currently used to produce up to 400 bottles per cycle of its namesake Graceful Vodka, as well as the brand’s award-winning Old Tom Gin and Northern Dry Gin, all in view of visitors at the Poetic License bar.

“From the outset we wanted our processes to be as transparent as possible,” said Mark Hird, owner of Poetic License.

“It has become relatively unusual for a gin brand to have their own distillery, with spirit production outsourced, and so we wanted to make it as clear as possible that everything was being done in-house.

“It’s a real talking point in the bar and has certainly helped to raise awareness of how vodka and gin can be made.”

Poetic License, which launched in September 2015, has been designed to appeal to more discerning drinkers and so-called wild spirits, who do not conform to the norm.

The brand’s Old Tom Gin (41.6% ABV) – the only of its category being made in Northern England – is rested in oak sherry casks to give it a unique, rose gold colouring, while the Northern Dry Gin (43.2% ABV) uses a mix of botanicals to produce a punchier flavour than many mainstream brands.

Both gins and the Graceful Vodka (40.4% ABV) – which is distilled seven times – are crafted in Gracie using the traditional one shot method which, while labour intensive, is thought to create the highest quality product with a superior depth of flavour.

“The one shot method does take longer than other options,” said Luke Smith, distiller for Poetic License, “but we do not like to rush.”

“By following this traditional process and allowing the gin time to condition and mellow it produces a much purer flavour, which our customers certainly seem to enjoy.”

Poetic License’s Northern Dry Gin, Old Tom Gin and Graceful Vodka, are currently being sold in bars, restaurants and retailers across the North East, with plans to expand across the UK and internationally in the near future.

All three products are also available to buy direct online at

For more information and trade sales enquiries please contact Luke Smith on 0191 5103564