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Get into the Spirit of Christmas with the Finest Tipples from the North East

wine bottles
Eat and Drink
December 2022
Reading time 3 Minutes
We’ve rounded up the best distillers, wine merchants and brewers in the North East to help you raise a glass to the festive season.

Full Circle Brew Co. 
Hoults Yard, Newcastle NE6 2HL
0191 481 4114
Brewery owner Ben Cleary followed his grandparents’ footsteps into the beer industry, setting up Full Circle Brew Co. in 2019. Now a multi-award winning brewery, Full Circle offer monthly seasonal releases with exciting styles and flavours, alongside their core range of craft beers. Head to the taproom in Hoults Yard to sample their beer first hand – we recommend the flagship IPA, Looper, for tasting notes of grapefruit, lime and citrus.

Poetic License Distillery 
Roker Terrace, Sunderland SR6 9ND 
0191 510 3564
This independent, small-batch distillery makes bold gin, gin liqueur and vodka using their hybrid 500-litre still. Taking a traditional route to craft their gin (where botanicals are macerated in the still pot and boiled), and a modern approach to crafting their vodka (in the columns of the still), this local distillery offers the best of both worlds. Alongside their core range, Poetic License have released a new, Fireside Spiced Gin just in time for Christmas. With classic notes of juniper and coriander, alongside dried winter fruits and zingy clementines, this winter warmer is perfect served hot or cold.

Jesmond Wine Co.

Jesmond Wine Co. 
3A Clayton Rd, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 4RP
0191 240 1269
Step inside this independent wine merchant based on Clayton Road and browse the packed shelves, which are stocked full of wines varying in origin, grape and price. From French favourites to classic Argentinean Malbecs, Japanese light white wines and Sicilian rosés, there’s plenty of choice here, and lots of rarer wines are available too. There’s also a small selection of Champagnes and spirits if they’re more your style, and if you’re not sure which wine to go for, ask the experts for their advice on food pairings – we’re sure you’ll leave with the perfect bottle (or two).

First & Last Brewery 
Old Ambulance Station, Foundry Yard, Bellingham NE48 2DA
07757 286357
Family-run in the heart of Northumberland, First & Last is an award-wining microbrewery creating small-batch, cask-conditioned and bottled beer. Taking inspiration from their surroundings, the untamed landscapes and the starry Northumberland skies, expect beers with British heritage malts and tropical tasting notes, bold flavour-forward bitters and light-bodied, refreshing pale ales.

Dennhöfer Wines 
01661 844622
This independent wine merchant was established in 1972 and is located in the Tyne Valley near Corbridge. Trading throughout the North East, they stock quality reds, whites, rosés and fortified wines and their selection includes wines from across the world – think Argentina, California, New Zealand, France Germany, England and Spain. As well as quality wines, you’ll also find a range of spirits, wine gifts and seasonal hampers on their website.

Read More: Celebrate Christmas With These Delicious Festive Tipples

Hepple Spirits
Founded in one of Britain’s last wild sanctuaries of the Northumberland Moors, Hepple Spirits bring a true taste of wild juniper to their classic gin range. With more than 4,000 acres of remote land to explore, Hepple take advantage of the area’s rich biodiversity to make sure their botanicals offer some of the best flavours out there. If you fancy a gin with bold, juicy notes of almond and sour cherries (perfect for the festive season) try Hepple’s Sloe & Hawthorn Gin. Stockists regionwide.

Fourteen Drops 
77a High Street, Yarm TS15 9BG
01642 657261
Hosting regular wine tastings, as well as offering monthly wine box subscriptions, this independent wine merchants is all about giving customers plenty of opportunities to try new wines. Offering a carefully-curated selection of worldwide wines ranging from Australia to South Africa, France to England, Fourteen Drops work with small artisan wineries to bring a fantastic range of more than 200 bottles to their Yarm shop. Head to the bar for a glass of their weekly-changing special, alongside cheese, charcuterie and small plates.

Carruthers & Kent
3A Elmfield Road, Gosforth NE3 4AY
0191 213 1818
Just off Gosforth High Street, Carruthers & Kent is a wine shop and deli stocking more than 500 artisan wines. Alongside shelves filled with bottles varying in grape, country, price and style, Carruthers & Kent also host a monthly case wine club which takes the hard work out of choosing your own wine and contains 12 bottles which can be tailored to your preferences. In the bar, the selection of wines which can enjoyed by the glass changes monthly and we recommend ordering a wine flight alongside a platter of local, regional and continental cheese and charcuterie.

Hepple Spirits
Fourteen Drops
St Mary’s Premium Spirits

St Mary’s Premium Spirits
Owned by husband and wife team Martin and Julie Summers, St Mary’s Premium Spirits was created back in 2018 when the couple longed for a gin which was smooth and subtle enough to be enjoyed on the rocks with ice, as well as with a flavoured tonic. Their premium gin and vodka are both distilled with grapefruit zest to calm the alcohol down, whereas the St Mary’s Rum is distilled with spiced blood orange before adding caramel, toffee and vanilla to the mix. Enjoy each of these spirits alone with ice, add your favourite tonic, or use as a base for your festive cocktails. Stockists regionwide.

WL Distillery
Taking inspiration from summers spent eating fruit from the bushes and trees in his grandad’s garden, founder Scott Wilson-Laing wanted to incorporate flavours including blackberries, pears and apples to produce handmade, small batch gin. Now, they create their award-winning WL 1st Edition, as well as the Wilson’s Gin Club Watermelon and Liquorice gin using hand-picked botanicals alongside natural mineral water. Stockists regionwide.

Grape & Grain 
3 Bridge Street, Morpeth NE61 1NT
01670 504901
Morpeth’s Grape & Grain is a family-owned independent wine, craft beer and spirits shop. Filled with top-quality drinks, unique offers and a bespoke service to match, you’ll find a bottle for every palate here. Visit the experts in store for some friendly advice and they’ll be able to help you pick out the perfect Australian red, English white, or Italian sparkling wine.

Durham Distillery
After traveling around America and being inspired by the micro-distilleries, founder Jon Chadwick loved the idea of an urban distillery with a backdrop of a beautiful city. Using a mix of traditional and modern techniques alongside local ingredients, Jon launched Durham Distillery in 2014. Now producing their original London dry gin alongside sloe gin, cask aged gin, mango gin and vodka, Durham Distillery continue to craft good honest spirits. Stockists regionwide.

Read More: All the Christmas Shows and Concerts You'll Want to Watch this December

Allendale Brew Co.

Allendale Brew Co.
Allendale, Hexham NE47 9EA
01434 618686
Based near the borders of Cumbria and Durham, Allendale Brewery have been brewing real ales since 2006, and launched their own in-house hard seltzers, RIDE, in 2019. The brewery now produces an eclectic mix of pale ales, larger and IPAs with a classic range, seasonal specials and limited edition brews. For an award-winning pint, try the Pennine Pale for a golden serve of bold American hops full of fruity aromas and flavours, with a refreshing citrus finish. Stockists regionwide.

Hops and Dots Brewing Company 
17 Chester Street, Bishop Auckland DL14 7LP
01388 345003
Hops and Dots Brew Co. was founded in 2018 from a love of beer and braille. Promoting braille through their beers – adding braille to the side of each of their cans – Hops and Dots are all about promoting accessibility whilst having a great tasty craft beer to drink. Their core range includes an Indian pale ale, German hop malt larger and a speciality Belgian and German malt mix. Visit their website to shop their beer.

Northumberland Spirit Co.
Renowned for their smooth and unique flavour of small batch, hand-crafted gins distilled in the rural heart of Northumberland, Northumberland Spirit Co. pride themselves on using the finest ingredients to create Alnwick Gin, Blacksmiths Gin and the enchanting Northern Fables Collection. You’ll get a taste of juniper, rosehip and lavender rounded off with a hint of fennel in the Alnwick Gin, whilst the Blacksmiths dry gin has a delicate blend of dill, lemon pepper and fresh undertones of juniper. For a gin with a little history behind it, try the Northern Fables Collection. Stockists regionwide.

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