Having read a recent piece online on Somerset Live this week, I felt the need to share my thoughts. I applied for the Bath Christmas market as a stallholder in 2023 and Exmoor Distillery ticks a lot of boxes, based in Somerset tick, handmade tick, not multinational pretending to be local tick, member of visit somerset tick, member of the somerset chamber of commerce tick, small business tick.
So, we were disappointed to be rejected but that’s fine we know how these things work and Bath Christmas markets policy is not to give feedback on applications. Looking at the some of the other trader’s business size and locations left a little sense of frustration. As a rural business based on Exmoor in Somerset it is very difficult to get the support from these decision makers, when stalls have been given to traders in our industry from Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, and further afield.
Whilst we know the gin market is saturated, the fact remains that our produce is not bulk (there will be a blog post about this shortly), and we make our own rum and vodka here in Somerset. I don’t believe there was any British made rum for sale at the Bath Christmas market in 2023.
I will bring more of this to light in 2024 as it is impacting us directly and the sooner these pressing issues are discussed the better it will be for others in a similar position. As our visitor numbers grow and our online presence increases it remains a key focus that small businesses are being heard.
I’m relieved to know that others feel the same and change is clearly needed albeit I can’t imagine we will ever secure a place in the future after this post! But that’s okay Exmoor Distillery continues to forge our own path and our aim remains to deliver the finest quality products direct to our customers.