Taranaki couple goes above and beyond to make their gin product stand out

Jo and Dave James launched a national hunt earlier this year for a particular tree for a key ingredient for their brand of gin. Little did they know they'd find one just down the road.

The juniper tree and its berries are the main ingredient used to flavour gin. The tree doesn’t look anything too special but could be a key to the future of a local distillery.

The James couple believe in sourcing everything they can locally but juniper berries are mostly imported, so the pair are looking to grow and harvest their own.

"Geopolitical unrest and urbanisation and climate change have all been working on reducing the stocks of these conifer trees," Mr James told 1 NEWS.

The couple have been teamed up with Massey University experts to carry out DNA testing on the trees and although there’s very little to work with, nine have been identified as fine.

"Some are poisonous … and you don’t want to make gin out of that."

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The couple’s hunt to source one of the gin’s main ingredients in New Zealand has led to surprising places. Source: 1 NEWS