Next time your mum has a good idea, listen to her.
That’s exactly what founder of Warner’s Gin, Tom Warner did and it pretty much started the global flavoured gin revolution.
You’d expect years of testing, focus groups and research, large scale marketing teams and a renowned gin-juggernaut with decades of history to spearhead it all, but, throw those preconceptions out the window.
This flavourful, authentic and heart-warming story proves that the little guys who are passionate, value quality and know when their mum/mother-in-law has a good idea is the true way to really start something special.
Tom Warner and his co-founding wife, Tina, didn’t set out to create the next best gin, let alone a flavoured one. It happened by accident, backed with tenacity, a strong worth ethic, passion and love.
It all started with agricultural roots, which saw Tom’s parents owning and working a beautiful farm in the Northamptonshire countryside. He was always inspired by them – they were entrepreneurs, and Tom wanted to follow in their footsteps. However, he knew that the agricultural industry was a lifestyle, not a means to make a lot of money, so if he was going to do something with the family land, it needed to be something he was passionate about.
Distilling was on the cards, but not as you might expect. The Warner’s were convinced they’d become botanical farmers and distil crops to extract essential oils to sell at farmers markets and sell on-mass to perfume and soap manufacturers. But what do you do with a still for the rest of the year?
You make booze.
A realisation many of us would say a big hell yes to.
During 2012, mid-global recession, they took the opportunity by the hands to capitalise on the fact that people were drinking less, but, were drinking better. The market polarised, the middle-of-the-road died and the path to artisanal high-end products was born.
The next battle was between vodka and gin. Which to choose? Vodka was three to four times as big and popular in the UK at the time, however, it was a high tempo drink, consumed heavily after 10pm in nightclubs, so concerns around quality were obsolete.
So gin it was – it had a soul.
And just like that, Warner’s Gin was created. A small-batch artisanal gin, concocted on the farm, hand-bottled and sold at farmer’s markets. The original gin, the Harrington Dry Gin, led to the creation of the London Dry Gin, a brighter and more accessible gin of the two.
But it wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that Tom’s mother, Adele, really sparked the flavour revolution.
And all it took was Adele’s recipe – a serve of gin with a dash of fresh elderflower and pinch of sugar. It blew their mind. The thought of adding flavour post distillation was unheard of. But not for long. This saw Warner’s Gin start the revolution.
A true tale of mother knows best, the Warner’s produced their first flavoured product, Elderflower Gin. It sold out in just eight weeks. The entire batch – gone. All from sales at farmer’s markets, door-knocking and getting around to as many people as they could. No marketing team, no campaign. They let the gin do the talking (or should we say tasting).
Soon their gin started to win awards, followed by the catalyst of their stocking in Fortnum and Mason. They were now a brand with a big player on their side, which saw the doors open.
Fast forward to today and let us introduce one of their most famous, biggest and best drops – the Rhubarb Gin, the original pink gin. The Rhubarb Gin story starts, again, at the farmer’s markets, where they met a farmer (two stalls down) who managed a crown estate which had a small patch of rhubarb that once belonged to Queen Victoria. This sparked (what was only ever meant to be a limited royal edition) rhubarb gin.
The lightly pink-hued gin is made up of one third of fresh and pure rhubarb juice. The gin, is in fact, cut to bottle strength with the fresh juice, not water. It’s a superb flavourful gin with notes of cardamom and sweet orange to taste, with the tangy rhubarb exploding on the nose with a pinch of black pepper.
For Australians, these are the two (London Dry and Rhubarb Gin) sensational gins we are able to get our hands-on. The distillery itself now creates a myriad of flavoured gins, from raspberry to honey and everything in between. Our tip though, try the Rhubarb Gin with Fever-Tree Ginger Ale and a slice of blood-orange. You won’t be disappointed.
London Dry Gin
This classic London Dry Gin is distilled with Warner’s Gin’s own spring water and 11 botanicals, including cardamom and hedgerow elderflower. Elegantly balanced with juniper and spice, this epic gin won Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition before its launch in June 2019.
Nose: Soft, sweet and floral as elderflower mingles with spicy cardamom and gentle lemon.
Palate and Finish: Juniper is immediately dominant on the palate and gives way to orange mousse before finishing with sweet mint.
The original Rhubarb Gin, with one-third of the bottle made of freshly pressed rhubarb juice. This sensational gin is not only made with freshly pressed rhubarb juice but also juniper, coriander seed, elderflower, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, angelica root, orange peel, lemon peel, plus a secret ingredient…
Nose: Fresh, tangy rhubarb explodes on the nose with a pinch of black pepper.
Palate: The palate gives complex and mouth-watering rhubarb with cardamom and sweet orange.
Finish: Rhubarb returns with cinnamon for a long, sweet finish.