Business Spotlight: Three Wrens Gins Producing The World’s First Bison Grass Gin & Golden Fork Awards
Each month we will be interviewing a local business that is pioneering in their sector and taking the lead to make innovative, green and/or creative changes to their business and their industry.
For this month (March 2022), we interviewed Three Wren Gins Distillery, a proud Cheshire based business that are making strides in their industry with creative new flavours, exciting experiences for their customers and with big plans for the future.
You can watch the full interview with Nick Wadeson, Owner of Three Wrens Distillery where we spoke about how he got started, where the brand name came from and the challenges he faced as well as a tour of fantastic facilities at his premises.
Firstly, tell us a little bit about Three Wrens Gin and yourself?
I’m Nick, Owner and Distiller at Three Wrens Gin. We started in August 2019 so it’s been around about two and half years. Our first premises was opposite the beautiful Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire and now we’re sitting in our brand spanking new premises a few miles up the road from Combermere, near Nantwich.
My background is that I was a brand manager for a Japanese Gin company, I’ve travelled all over the world, getting the gin to market and before that I was in hospitality. I used to be General Manager of bars and restaurants in Manchester. I’ve always been involved in the drink industry, it felt like the right time to take the plunge and stop working for other people and try something myself.
Where did the brand name come from?
The name becomes from the simple fact that we’re a family of three from Wrenbury in Cheshire. We decided to take the name Three Wrens as a nod to our village.
Three Wren’s Distillery Dog, Rocky
What’s your journey been like?
We’ve been on an incredible journey, we started in a garage distilling on a tiny 5 litre distil. Slowly as we have gone along, we’ve had a great reaction to the gins, won some incredible awards and we have just reinvested back into the business with all the profits that we had made. We’ve invested in the staff, we’re now a team of 7 (full time employees) – we’ve got Rocky as well but he doesn’t really count.
We’re looking to the future and part of that is hospitality. We can host people for private events, private distilling sessions and host a gin school. The main bulk of the business is still distilling and producing gins and sending them out all around the UK.
How’s it been breaking into the market?
It’s been a challenge, it can definitely be a crowded market and there is a lot of the same sorts of gins. Our philosophy was really to create flavours that was unusual and maybe hasn’t been done before like our Bison Grass gin.
Our Bison Grass gin is the world’s first Bison Grass gin, it’s the first time that Bison Grass itself has been used in gin. We try to think outside the box a little bit and bring gins that you wouldn’t really see in the supermarket.
What’s your Best Selling Gin?
I think our biggest seller is our Apple Crumble Gin that’s distilled with toasted oats and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s just won the Golden Fork Award at the Great Taste Awards – that was a big one for us.
Where is the Gin Distilled?
Right here – about 10 metres away from where we are sitting right now. We make all of our own gin here, I’m the main distiller and Fran is my assistant distiller and between us, we make every single bottle of Three Wren Gin ourselves.
Nick kindly took us on a tour round this fantastic facilities at his new premises:
The Bar Area
The Bar Area
The most important part – the Bar. You can now pop in for a cocktail or a gin and tonic with your friends now, something that we couldn’t do in our previous place because it was absolutely tiny. We have a nice little cocktail menu and if you love gin, you can get one of our gins with the correct tonic and garnish.
So you can pop in during the week with your friends if you have an afternoon work.
Gin Tasting Tables / Areas
We do a gin tasting and tour on a Saturday, they’re really popular and people come across the whole of the UK. They generally stay at local hotels and BnBs and also visit local bars and restaurants. We can seat 48 in this area and it’s quite a relaxed occasion, it starts with a cocktail and we tell you about how the brand started, walk you through all the gins and then give you a tour of the facilities here.
We usually end up at our wall of botanicals and distils. This has been a project that we have been running for the last three months with Fran. What we have done is that we have separately distilled over 50 botanicals so you can actually come in and blend your own gin on the spot – you will be able to produce a gin in minutes that is catered to your own taste.
This is set up for 18 couples to distil their own gin. We offer this experience on a Saturday from 12pm until 3pm and you can pick your botanicals from the wall of botanicals. It’s a full tutored experience, we take you through how gin is made and fire up the distils and distil your own bottle. It takes around about 3 hours and then you get to bottle it, label it and stick it in the wax at the end so you can take it home with you.
Gin School – Single Distils
Wall of Botanicals
Our botanical discovery is unique to the region and like I was saying before, we have over 50 botanicals that we have separately distilled. We have the botanical version in the smaller jar and the distil version next to it. So you can smell and see how that translate through the distillery process – the aromas and flavours.
Then you can take a breaker and blend all these distillers together to make your own vodka or gin as well. It’s pretty exciting, you can come with your friends for an afternoon, blend a few drinks and leave with something really bespoke.
Our small distil is called Valerie – Gin distillers have this great tradition of naming their first stills after their mums and this goes back to the 17th century. My mum’s name is Valerie Jill and she got our first still named after her. This produces 50 litres, a super small batch.
Then we have Jill the Still and it produces 300 litres so around about 400 bottles in one day. So we add our base spirit into the pot and then we add our botanicals and slowly heat that up. Alcohol has a lower boiling point of water so the alcohol vaporises, which has been flavoured by the botanicals, through the still to the vapour basket. We can pack the basket with fresh herbs, citrus and things like that. Then you run cold water through the condenser and hey press-so, we get gin trickling off at a healthy 96% abb.
We also have a third still which will exactly be used for rum production. We’re getting ready to produce our first batch of rum in the late summer.
Once the gin is ready, it will go into tanks where the bottle machine will suck the liquid from the tanks and deposit it into our bottles for us. All and all we can produce around about 500 bottle a day in this small area.
Bottle Display and Bar
What is a typical day at Three Wrens Gin?
We’re bottling minis at the moment and chopping and dehydrating fruit – there are loads and loads of different tasks that we do everyday. We’re now prepping fresh botanicals and making dried fruit, we do all this ourselves and then send off little garnish pouches with our gins. When it arrives at people’s doorsteps, they have the right garnish and tonic to go with the individual gin that they have chosen.
How did you finance your venture?
We started with a small pot of savings to start the business and to buy our main equipment, we kept the overheads really low at the beginning. Our first premise was about the size of a double garage so we didn’t have a lot of overheads which meant when the gin took off and became profitable, we put the profits back into the business.
We also got a small bank loan to scale up and buy Jill the Still as well as keeping it responsible and thinking about the long term.
Where can you buy Three Wrens Gin?
You can buy directly from our website, we ship out the next day and that works out really well. It’s also stocked in most nice retailers in Cheshire as well like Hollies and Cherbrookes Farm Shop and lots of nice wine merchants like RD Wines in Nantwich and Tanners in Chester. You can also book our tours and experience directly on our website or you can pop in or give us a call.
Buy your very own bottle of Three Wrens Gin
Head over to Three Wrens Gin’s website to have a look at their extensive list of Gin, book on to their tasting experience or Gin School.
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