Gin is the flavour of 2016, and we’re lucky enough to have one of the up-and-coming big boys right here in our back yard in Northamptonshire.
Warner Edwards, found hidden away at the picturesque Falls Farm in Harrington near Rothwell, is right at the top of its game.
This week it launched a new lemon balm-flavoured gin to coincide with the opening of a botanical garden full of fabulous-smelling herbs and spices.
Co-founder Tom Warner struggled to hide his excitement at the launch.
He said: “This is the first time we’ve launched a product properly and it’s the culmination of 12 months of blood, sweat and tears.
“My mum was a keen gardener and cook but she passed away in 2014, and her legacy was a garden full of herbs and spices.
“We started picking some of the herbs and distilling them on a small scale and realised we could make some really exciting stuff and that’s where the Melissa Gin came from using lemon balm.
“It’s a fabulous smelling and tasting botanical – some people consider it a weed because it grows like a monster – but it’s really, really good.”
Warner Edwards has now been at Falls Farms for almost four years.
And Mr Warner says the Harrington base is great for the promotion of all things Northamptonshire.
He said: “We’re just starting to take baby steps away from being a start-up business.
“We now employ 14 people who live within 10 minutes’ drive of the distillery.
“We’re currently interviewing for another position and that will probably go to someone who lives locally too.
“We are creating jobs, therefore creating wealth and stability in the area, and it’s exciting for Northamptonshire.
“We’re selling it in four or five different countries now and it says Northamptonshire on the bottle.
“Some of our core range is now available in some of the big names like Marks & Spencer and we’re about to launch in Waitrose in November.
“We’re really getting our teeth into the bigger boys but we still want to look after the little guys who have looked after us to get us where we are.”
As its core range becomes even more popular, Mr Warner has promised more flavours for the future - but he’s keeping tight-lipped for now.
He added: “Melissa is the first in the botanical range and they’re meant to be limited edition, so this is the excitement driver for the range.
“There will be others coming in the future.
“We don’t want to produce flavours just because they’re different, we make them because there’s an authentic reason for doing so.
“We’ve got a few other things that we want to be doing but we can’t get carried away.”