Meet the Distiller

Tom Warner, Warner’s Distillery

Gin industry pioneer brought colours and flavours of the British countryside to the category

Growing up on a farm not only instilled Tom Warner’s legendary work ethic but arguably was the inspiration behind the explosion of flavoured gins which brought thousands of new consumers to the category.

Tom’s journey to making gin started as a practical approach to farm diversification. After toying with using the floral crops to create essential oils on his Northamptonshire farm, he hit on the idea of making gin.

He nearly changed his mind back in 2012 when he realised a couple of other new kids on the block, including Sipsmith, had started to make waves in the industry.

Fortunately, Tom persevered and, as he worked to create his London Dry gin in the farmhouse kitchen, the innovation that transformed the industry took root in the most mundane way.

“My mum came into the kitchen and she’d put elderflower into a bottle of London Dry. It changed the colour and the flavour. It seemed like a small thing but, at the time, no-one was doing it.” Tom explains.

Within a year of launching their Harringtons London Dry gin, Warner’s used the farm’s fresh elderflower to make their first flavoured gin.

“It went off the shelves at Marks & Spencer like a rocket,” Tom recalls. “It became their fourth fastest-selling spirit almost overnight.”

When Warner’s were offered a special crop of rhubarb from Queen Victoria’s rootstock, grown on the Crown estate in Lincolnshire, that captured the zeitgeist. Warner’s Rhubarb Gin, with one third of every bottle being pure rhubarb juice, saw the market go crazy for pink gin.

“It was a great innovation that brought a lot of new blood into gin,” Tom says, “but unfortunately it opened the doors of Pandora’s box to a lot of synthetically-flavoured, highly sugared, versions which has done some damage to gin and confused the consumer.”

Bringing change and innovation has been Warner’s hallmark. “We weren’t from the industry and we weren’t blinkered by category norms,” Tom says. Not every experiment worked though and Tom chuckles at his attempt to make gooseberry gin, which smelled and tasted terrible!

“We’re up against some global giants so we have had to work harder, innovate faster and try to make better quality products to carve a niche for ourselves,” he says.

Tom Warner from Warner’s Distillery championed the case for the spirits industry in the return of the annual Worshipful Company of Distillers’ City Debate.Plus, Tom is a natural showman, and has made a name for himself with his inspirational talks and tastings which have set many a heart and mind on the path to launching a distillery.

Tom loves his life-consuming, 24/7 job and, luckily, he runs the business with his wife Tina who, as a farmer’s daughter, shares his passion and his work ethic.

“Gin is for foodies and chefs, it is the greatest spirit in the category, because you are creating the recipe. It’s for creatives to stamp their mark on the liquid,” he explains.

As a lover of cooking, and the son of a home economics teacher, Tom sees his gin as “like a home-cooked meal for the world, because of the pride, care and quality that goes into every single bottle.”

The team’s latest initiative, after achieving coveted B-Corp certification, is launching Warner’s Nature Marque.

“In 2021, we decided to put nature positivity at the top of our pyramid as a business. Our gins are flavoured by the British countryside and we need to look after it or we won’t have a business in the future.

“We started doing all we can to reduce and offset carbon, grow our own botanicals and create nature positive space on the farm. But we wanted to change the world beyond our borders.”

That led to Nature Marque, which will be awarded to pubs across the country which make room for nature in their gardens. From growing wildflower meadows to putting up bird boxes or bee hotels, Nature Marque aims to create more nature friendly habitats.

“We consider the UK our green and pleasant land, but it is one of the most nature depleted countries on the planet,” says Tom, now a champion of nature positivity.

Warner’s status as an industry disruptor – along with Tom’s natural sociability – has led to the industry’s latest talking point and products: Warner’s Harrington Shiraz Gin and Australian pioneer Four Pillars’ Green Apple and Rhubarb Gin.

Collaboration between the distillers from opposite sides of the globe started with an ingredient exchange and Tom is excited by the outcome. “We sent them some rhubarb juice, they sent us some shiraz and we both had a play around at making products.

“I think we’re going to see more collaboration in the category – it’s a friendly and sensible way to drive some excitement in a market that has got a lot harder.”

Tom’s ten years in the industry has been a blast with many highlights, from meeting Her Late Majesty The Queen at Warner’s successful Chelsea Flower Show Garden to distilling live at Chelsea alongside French celebrity chef Raymond Blanc who was running  cookery demonstrations. Distilling live has also taken Tom to Blur bassist Alex James’ Big Feastival in the Cotswolds.

But, he concludes, finishing the day drinking G&T with his hard-working team in the farm’s botanical garden on a summer’s evening takes some beating.

Warner’s Distillery Brands:

Warner's Apple and Pear Gin Bottle celebrating 30th Anniversary of Joules

Warner’s Apple and Pear Gin

Warner's neighbours, Joules are celebrating their 30th anniversary. To mark this milestone, Warner's Distillery have worked together to craft a gin inspired by sun-filled countryside walks, with 1/3 pure apple & pear juice, and their local elderflower in every bottle.…
Warner's Four Pillars Harrington Shiraz Gin Bottle with Gin-Note™

Warner’s X Four Pillars Harrington Shiraz Gin

Four Pillars may well be cricketing rivals of Warner's  but otherwise good mates, united by a passion for nature-positive gin distillation using the freshest possible farm-grown ingredients. What started as mutual admiration between two nature-loving distilleries on other sides of…

Warner’s Harrington Dry Gin

Warner's Distillery's first born, this distinctive London dry gin is distilled with their own spring water and eleven botanicals, including cardamom and black pepper. Global award-winning, it is a true pioneer of its class. Craft distilled on Falls farm Small…

Warner’s Honeybee Gin

Released in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society to protect our pollinators, Warner's Honeybee Gin is crafted with 28 botanicals, including lavender, rose and a dollop of honey from our farm’s own beehives.

Warner’s Lemon Balm Gin

Warner's Lemon Balm gin is made using hand-picked botanicals from their Botanical Gardens on Falls Farm, which are distilled fresh within an hour of harvest. They are self-sufficient in their Lemon Balm Gin's three core botanicals: lemon balm, lemon verbena…

Warner’s Sloe Gin

Warner's (formerly Warner Edwards) award-winning Sloe Gin is an intensely fruity liqueur, made with handpicked hedgerow sloe berries. Each year, around the start of October, they run a Sloe Swap on Falls Farm, where they invite their Gin Fans from…

Warner’s Rhubarb Gin

Warner's Distillery make gin the authentic way: they're gin farmers. It’s dirty hands, hard work, full hearts, a deep love of the land and respect for their community. Their gins are crafted with nature: water from their spring, home-grown botanicals,…

Warner’s Raspberry Gin

Inspired by their home on Falls Farm, this recipe has been crafted to embody the bounty of the British countryside, with fresh raspberry and blackberry juice in every bottle, and hand-picked elderflower from our farm hedgerows. At Warner’s they grow…

Warner’s London Dry Gin

This classic London Dry Gin is distilled with the spring water from Fells Farm in Northamptonshire and eleven botanicals, including cardamom and hedgerow elderflower. Elegantly balanced with juniper and spice, this epic gin won Double Gold at the San Francisco…

Harrington Elderflower Gin

Warner's beautiful Elderflower Gin is infused with 300 handpicked elderflowers from their local hedgerows. Harvested just once a year, this delicate gin really is summer in a glass. Once the gin is infused they add the spring water and a…

Warner’s Distillery

Warner’s Distillery:

Warner's Distillery was established in 2012 and produces a range of award-wining artisan gins distilled at their 200-year-old converted barn in the village of Harrington, Northamptonshire. They blend pure, natural spring water, grain spirit, home-grown elderflower, plus ten other botanicals,…