From Falls Farm to the Gin bottles
2012 > Ongoing
The objective of the Warner’s distillery s to:
- Reduce the environment footprint by keeping things local and harvesting with a respect for nature and the community as well as by a better use of the natural water resources for the distillation process
- Promote biodiversity by growing the botanicals on the farm and by only using the fresh honey from Farm Falls beehives. The ambition is to give back more than what is taken by re-sowing, replanting and rebuilding
The Warner’s Distillery is not just a distillery producing Gin but also a family farm committed to sustainable production and promotion of the wildlife and biodiversity. To do so, the distillery has recently undertaken a number of initiatives:
- Installation of a borehole to minimize the use of mains water, an action that brings the distillery closer to self-sufficiency. This is done by capturing grey water from the reverse osmosis operations to irrigate the Botanical Gardens.
- Offering wildflower or lemon balm seeds with the Honeybee Gin and Lemon Balm Gin respectively, enabling gin fans to create foraging habitats for pollinators.
- Sowing over five acres of wildflower meadows and working to engage local land owners in conservation initiatives and catchment sensitive farming practices.
- Running initiatives with local colleagues and beekeepers to promote the protection of pollinators around Northamptonshire and the UK.
- Working with the Royal Horticultural Society, Buglife and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, providing funding towards species conservation, habitat management and helping to raise awareness.
- Providing solitary bee hotels to afford habitat for pollinators in a national initiative focusing on wildlife corridors called B-Lines
Warner’s Distillery (WsD)
WsD was awarded by the Footprint Forum on its “Footprint Drinks Sustainability Awards” in the category of “Stakeholder Engagement Award”. This recognizes the efforts to positively engage consumers on pollinator conservation initiatives:
Providing value for biodiversity through point of sale activations for on trade and off trade.
- WsD provided well in excess of 100,000 packets of wildflower seeds to customers, who are sharing their results with us across social media platforms.
- Gift boxes have been upcycled into solitary bee hotels by consumers and effectively shared amongst consumers primarily on Instagram.
- Designing 1000 interactive observation solitary bee hotels for outdoor spaces
Providing opportunities for education and engagement
- With WsD input, the team at Royal Horticultural Society Garden at Wisley have centred their new Heather garden around bees, which now contains structures and interpretation boards talking about issues facing pollinators.
- In 2018, guest lectures were given to Oxford Brookes University centred around CSR and 'operation honeybee', Moulton College and an evening at Victoria and Albert Museum for their Fashioned from Nature exhibition.
- In 2018, 4 groups from on trade and off trade joined us to open up our hives and discuss all things bee-related, these included guests of the Gardeners World Magazine.
- Over 400,000 bees were taking the WsD tour down to RHS Garden Wisley in August 2018 which spent 1 month as a feature and talking point within the Heather garden, visitors would eagerly watch from a distance and be keen to talk with you after inspecting the colonies.
- WsD has a student- from Northampton University- of environmental science who is conducting her dissertation here at Falls Farm on habitat suitability for pollinators, actions from her findings on habitat improvement will be rolled out on site at the distillery.
Promoting beekeeping thus increasing honey bee populations
In 2018, WsD sponsored Mark Tuson at RHS Garden Wisley to become a sponsored beekeeper, and in 2019 Toni Brown also at RHS Garden Wisley. As a direct result of this, the team at the RHS are further improving planting for pollinators around the heather garden and have been invited to present this project at the National Honey Show in 2019.
Flagship landscape level conservation project.
Over 5 acres of pollen and nectar rich habitat was sown with the local landscape in 2018, engaging local landowners to increase the available forage by WsD providing seed in exchange for them managing the ground. Specific focus has been be given to B-lines, where wildlife corridors have been identified where they can focus efforts in a joined-up way, demonstrating local initiatives can be part of a national solution.
Measurement & evaluation
WsD expects to see an increase in pollinator populations locally around the distillery as well as an increase in species in the diversity of pollinating insects. Results from baseline surveys carried out by a student from Northampton University will allow measurement of changes in species diversity.
WsD will continue to work with charities including Buglife and the Peoples Trust for Endangered species to encourage others to engage in practical conservation, and to lead by example by carrying out habitat management on the farm and sharing case study and approach to farm diversification.
WsD approach to communication and stakeholder engagement will help to perpetuate the rise in conscious consumerism, demonstrating that business and conservation can and should work together. Interaction across their social media platforms will allow to measure the success of this.