August 10, 2018 10.29 am This story is over 63 months old

The Lincoln couple reinventing gin

They hope to squash Lincs’ ‘bootlegging’ reputation.

At their office in Washingbrough, Co-Founders of Library Design Studio James Cann and Lizzie Mercer are reinventing one of the nation’s most popular spirits.

Their botanical vodka – ExLibris – takes gin and removes elements from it, creating a unique spirit halfway between gin and vodka.

“Every gin buff will tell you that gin is just vodka with juniper berries and botanicals. We work the other way around,” explained James. “We’ve taken our vodka and just put botanicals in it – without the juniper berry.

“Rather than being a stereotypical potato vodka, we’re made out of grains and we use a pot still.

“We are the middle line between vodka and gin.”

Lizzie Mercer (left) and James Cann (right) are producing their unique spirit in Lincoln.

The drink is described as having a fresh crisp citrus flavour with hints of leafy greener flavours and culinary spices beneath it.

The pair worked in London designing packaging for well known alcohol brands before deciding to set-up shop in a Washingborough HQ, where they are trying to challenge the gin-bubble for themselves.

Lizzie Mercer said: “Having got in contact with people and finding out who the best people to work with were we discovered they were all living and working in Lincolnshire.

“We decided that the best thing to do would be to move and be with the people that are making and producing and that we can collaborate with.”

The couple’s cat, Jynx, features prominently on the vodka’s branding.

But Lincolnshire’s history for illegal alcohol production means that selling their own spirit hasn’t been easy.

James Cann said: “You say you’re making a vodka in Lincolnshire and they presume all the history of the local area.

“You get tarred with the brush of underground distilleries and the government looks at you more stringently.”

But the couple hope that they can challenge that image and redefine Lincolnshire as a place associated with quality spirits.

Lizzie added: “We want people to look at Lincolnshire as not a place for underground illegal alcohol production. We want to redefine it as a place of quality spirits and quality produce.

“If we can get through that place then it will open the doors for people to realise that Lincolnshire is a place for start-ups, is a place for millennial to come to and really get the local market going.”

Ex-Libris botanical vodka costs £37 for a 500ml bottle and is available to order from their website, and will also have a stall at the Taste of Lincolnshire food festival so gin and vodka lovers will not have to wait long to try it for themselves.

The botanical vodka gives a new flavour to classic favourites like G&T or Martinis.