‘It’s graft gin, not craft’ says Warner’s gin founder

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Winning combination: Warner’s gin-inspired garden won silver guilt
Winning combination: Warner’s gin-inspired garden won silver guilt
Warner’s gin founder Tom Warner has dubbed his seven-year-old brand as “graft” gin rather than “craft” in defiance of what he called misleading marketing by large gin producers that make inferior products.

The owner of Northamptonshire-based Warner’s and his wife Tina spoke to press at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show yesterday (22 May) about the rebrand of the gin after winning silver guilt for their Distillery Garden at the show.

Both the garden and the new bottle design, which spreads across the distiller’s seven-strong portfolio, were revealed for the first time at the historic show.

The new bottle design narrates the history and making of the gins with illustrations showing how everything around the distillery, including the plants, the bees and the people, helps to make the gin.

The redesign also features a new bottle shape, a tamper label and neck tags for Honeybee and Lemon Balm gin with seed packs.

Tom and Tina

In their speeches, Tom and Tina paid homage to the people who have helped to make the brand a success, while Tom berated the wider industry for making unsubstantiated craft claims.

There are too many gins portraying themselves as craft and made locally using local ingredients but, in many cases, that is not true and, therefore, unfair to consumers who were buying into it, he told journalists at an after-hours look at the Distillery Garden.

Warner’s also ranked sixth in The Sunday Times​’s Fast Track 100, as well as ranking first in the super-premium flavoured gin category and second in the super-premium gin category.

Overall, value sales for the brand are also up 142.58% for the past three years, according to Warner’s own accounts.

The brand partnered with garden designer, Helen Elks-Smith, to create the Warner’s Distillery Garden, which brought a touch of its farm home to the show.

Complex support

Regionally sourced natural stone and materials anchored the design, which contained a complex cantilevered roof and supporting structure.

Oxford-based artist Wendy Newhofer created bespoke, handcrafted glass panels that featured a blue tint created from copper reacting with the glass – inspired by the distillation process that takes place at the farm.

The garden featured planting such as Juniperus Communis​ – an evergreen conifer that has berries that are used to flavour gin; Crataegus Persimilis 'Prunifolia'​ – a broad-leaved cockspur thorn; mixed native hedging – an important part of English countryside and Rosmarinus officinalis​ – which was used on-site to garnish gin and tonics.

Of the win, Tina Warner-Keogh said: “At Warner’s, we are custodians of the land and rely on the generosity of nature in cultivating and distilling our farm-grown gins. Helen beautifully nods to this with the garden design, including key features such as the ‘falling’ water representing our natural springs with the movement of water through the chimney and copper fins representing our distillation process.

“Plantings, such as elderflower and thyme, are key farm-grown botanicals that we’re very proud to say are self-sufficient from our fields. She has truly succeeded in bringing a little taste of Falls Farm to Chelsea.”

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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