Willow Tree Gin was launched in 2017 by Mary Vincent and the gin was originally distilled in an outbuilding on Mary's family farm in Bedfordshire. In late 2020, Mary moved her 100L iStill to a new distillery on a farm in Sandy in 2020 in order to have more space to grow and to be able to welcome gin lovers for cocktails and gin making experiences.
One of Willow Tree Gin's unique characteristics is that before distillation some of the herbs from the botanical recipe are lightly smoked. And what's more, to reduce the environmental impact to the distillation process, the water used in the distilling process is recycled in a closed loop twin condenser. The botanicals are also composted afterwards and used to fertilise and grow fresh herbs. From the sale of each full size bottle, 50p is also donated to the Forest of Marston Vale towards planting new trees.
As well as their 100L iStill, the distillery move has also seen the addition of 6 incredibly cute mini iStills for gin making experiences, allowing visitors to develop their own recipe and make their own gin. Mary told us all about how she began distilling gin and developed her recipe:
"After completing a course in distilling and achieving the required licences, I researched the best equipment suitable for small batch production and decided on the Dutch iStill. Once this was purchased the flavour experimentation began! At this point and despite the already considerable effort expended, it was realised that the journey had only just begun as it took another year of research into flavour combinations before I was satisfied that I had created a truly unique gin."
The distillery is open for gin sales throughout the week as well as the bar being open on Friday evenings from 5pm - 8pm for G&Ts and cocktails. Gin making experiences are available on Sundays at 3pm - you can book via the link below, and Mary told us more about them:
"Whether you want to come with your partner, your besties or for some family fun, we have 6 mini-stills available per course for you to enjoy. You will have your own mini-still to create a completely unique and personal gin. With a wide range of herbs and botanicals to choose from, the combination of flavours are endless. At the end of the course, you will have your very own hand-distilled bottle of 50cl gin to take home with you, along with a Willow Tree Gin glass in a presentation box."