Introducing Willow Tree Gin, Handcrafted in Bedfordshire, UK
Willow Tree Gin is a premium spirit, lovingly handcrafted in small batches. We use a unique combination of 12 botanicals including freshly picked herbs from the family farm. Our process of selectively smoking botanicals gives Willow Tree Gin its distinctive flavour.
The Willow Tree Story
My name is Mary Vincent and I am the founder and Director of Willow Tree Distilling. My passion for experimentation with food and drink goes back to my parents living and working in Nigeria, my Dad as a teacher and my Mum in charge of a district hospital as a doctor. My Dad was a keen cook and especially loved creating recipes with unusual herbs and spices. I have followed in his footsteps; developing a particular passion for African and Indian flavours, which has been a guiding force in creating and developing my gin.
My distilling journey has begun with Willow Tree Gin, which is produced on our farm in Bedfordshire; our family’s home for the past 40 years. We moved from the main farmhouse to the renovated barns in 2012, retaining the land which I now use to grow the herbs used in my gin recipe.
Why Willow Tree Gin?
Growing up on the farm with my 7 brothers and sisters is the influence for the name Willow Tree Gin. It brings back many fond memories of spending long summer days building tree houses and camps in the willow trees, as well as running a small farm in order to be self-sufficient with our menagerie of animals.
Since deciding to launch Willow Tree Gin, I have been on a journey of exploration and experimentation using new processes, recipes and techniques to create a distinctive new gin. My inspiration for starting the business stems from my time in Detroit. As an adventurous twenty-something, I developed a love of travel and adventure and spent 5 years in the US. American’s love for risk-taking and entrepreneurship rubbed off on me and sowed the seed of starting my own business and so here I am, 3 children later, developing my own product and embarking on my own gin creating journey!
To fit in around family life, I have had a varied career, most recently working in retail, where I was for 4 years. This job exposed me to new and interesting products and added to my inspiration to innovate and bring something new to the market in the form of my gin using smoked botanicals.
As I was new to distilling, I attended courses and bought an iStill which was the best decision I made due to the excellent support package I received. I am passionate about my new-found career and have finally discovered what I want to spend my time doing!
Now, 6 months in and I cannot believe how popular Willow Tree Gin is with local people. There is a growing trend in the UK to buy local and consume local produce. As the only distillery in Bedfordshire my gin is quite a novelty!
My startup highlights
- I’ve met lots of lovely gin drinkers!
- My gin is now stocked in 5 local shops a mixture of farm shops and independent wine shops
- I was nominated by Enterprise Nation to pitch to Selfridges at KPMG in London in front of an audience’