Meet Our Team

A Team Full of Passion

Our team here at Blacksmiths Hall Distillery is made up of people with a real passion for bringing to you the finest spirits around. From the Latin PASSIO, meaning suffering, we know how to suffer for our art. It isn’t easy imagining, experimenting and tasting the numerous flavour combinations that go into creating beautiful Gins yet somehow, we’re rarely without offers of help from friends and family. Strange that

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Managing Director


Founder and Managing Director of Northumberland Spirit Co, Neil started his first business aged 19 selling socks from a market stall. A successful career in Criminal Justice was followed by several years coaching entrepreneurs and in the wind energy sector.

In 2016 Neil took his own advice, turning his Gin making hobby into his business and launching Alnwick Gin. He is married to Gillian, has two sons Daniel and Ally, enjoys sailing and is often found beside a rugby pitch offering gentle advice to players and officials alike.


Helen joined the team in December 2018, following over 20 years working for Local Government and of researching gins – she assures us there is no link. In charge of business operations, Helen ensures the distillery runs like a well-oiled machine; some days requiring more maintenance than others! An Aussie citizen for several years, Helen returned to her native Northumberland where she loves spending time with her crazy family, longsuffering boyfriend, and her close friends.

Away from work Helen can be found restoring furniture, watching motorbike racing or rugby …as well as continuing her dedicated research into gin. Whilst sometimes prone to eccentricity and wild ideas, which occasionally need to be reined in, Helen is the organisational hub around whom the company turns.

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Business Operations

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Sales Director


Ian has been with Northumberland Spirit Co since 2016, originally starting as a sales rep. He is now our company Sales Director based at our Blacksmiths Hall Distillery.

Ian spent 30 years as a firefighter and now volunteers as a Coastguard Rescue Officer. In his spare time, he is a keen amateur photographer and, as well as enjoying a gin or two, he is a fan of single malt whisky, particularly Islay and Highland malts. He is engaged to Claire and has a son, daughter and two stepdaughters, as well as a lunatic black Labrador!


Duane joined the company in the early days after being offered a couple of weeks work. A quiet family man with three daughters: he has now become an important part of the production team and has shown himself to be a skilled distiller with a creative flair.

Duane is immensely proud to have created special edition Gins for The Duchess of Northumberland and The Alnwick Garden.

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Ginmaster / Distiller

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Apprentice Ginmaster


Daniel is the newest member of the distillery team having joined in September 2020 straight from school and after a year studying at Skals Efterscole in Denmark. A keen athlete and occasional rugby player he is often found in the gym when not learning the finer points of the Ginmaster’s trade.


You will savour the key flavours of Juniper, Rosehip and Lavender; rounded off with just a hint of Fennel to give a sublimely smooth taste.