Warner Edwards Distillery, Falls Farm, Harrington, Northamptonshire, England, UK.
Tom Warner is
from Falls Farm, Harrington, Northamptonshire in England and Sion Edwards is
from Bryngwyn Mawr Farm (Big White Hill Farm), Rhuallt, near St. Asaph,
Denbighshire in North Wales. In 1997 they met at agricultural college (Harper
Adams University) and, coming from farming families and sharing a mutual love
of rugby, became firm friends.
At the end of college they went back to their individual lives, always frustrated by the struggling lifestyle for farmers. However, they had always discussed starting a business themselves and over the next decade or so they tentatively looked at and discussed possible options. By 2010 these discussions had become earnest and it was clear they liked farming and wanted to do something allied with or complimentary to this industry and, as sometimes happens, one idea generated further thoughts.
The key idea was to produce essential oils from crops they would grow on the farm in Wales (e.g. lavender). To produce the oil, distillation equipment would be required, but this would mean this expensive still would sit idle outside of the growing season. So they looked at other uses and came up with the idea of producing alcohol. Once this idea had germinated they began planning to make Vodka on the farm in Wales. However, a key component of any good liquor is a quality source of water. It just so happens Falls Farm is described as being “built on rock and water”, with an abundance of natural springs across the farm (once the site of a medieval manor house). Fortunately, following a tasting from the various springs, the best and sweetest water was also near to a barn that was available – now their dream had a venue and work could start in making it come true.
After nearly 3-years of hard (physical, mental and paper) work not to mention experimentation, the distillery was completed in the early winter of 2012 (following the arrival of their bespoke still in October), and safely housed in their 200-year-old barn they had converted for the purpose. One change to the plan was they liked Gin & Whisky, both providing greater artisanal creativity than Vodka, and they wanted to make great quality spirits with flavor. So, with Whisky potentially taking numerous years to produce they decided to drop the Vodka idea and make great Gin (with Whisky an option for the future).