We are fourth Generation farmers with an inherited passion for quality & caring for our surroundings. Diversifying in to ‘farm-to-bottle’ Gin crafting in 2019, we strive to embody the heritage of our farm in each bottle. We have full control over each stage, with everything being done right here on our farm. Developed, harvested, distilled, bottled & labelled by us.
Rob & Lizzie have both grown up within dairy farming families. From a young age they both knew that farming would feature heavily in their futures. Now Rob & Lizzie have set up home on Lizzie’s family farm in Inglewhite, Lancashire. There Rob works alongside his brother in law, John & mother and father in law Ann & Andrew milking a Holstein herd of 450. Robs passion has always been agricultural engineering’s which now comes in handy when running their still, Ivy.
Lizzie’s background is within food development so creating her own Gin using what the farm naturally has to offer has been a lifelong passion fulfilled. They aren’t short of help either, with every member of the family actively involved in the Gin crafting and the farming. They also have their own two helpers, their children; Annie and Betsy, they absolutely love farm life, and are British farming advocates! They also come in handy when picking the smaller fruits, little hands make light work!
Lizzie’s career was spent within the dairy industry in new product development, something which was much more than a job to her, instead a real passion for creating new products which met consumer ever changing needs but most importantly keeping ‘real produce’ at the heart of each new line.
For as long as Lizzie can remember Gin & Tonic was the staple ‘after milking drink’ for her parents which was then passed on to her and her siblings! Gin was not trendy nor were there hundreds to choose from, it was simply a high-quality spirit enjoyed with tonic, ice & a slice.
It was Lizzie’s love for a good Gin that first sparked the idea to put her experience to good use and develop their own ‘Farm to Bottle’ Gin and with a wealth of fruits and botanicals growing in the farm orchard and surrounding hedge rows it was a no brainer to put them to good use.
In April 2019 and with all the trials done and new distillery housed, Lizzie and Rob were ready to go, all that was needed was a brand name, Wild Fox Distillery was not a hard choice, having two little red headed feral farm kids who have always been their own Wild Fox’s and without their arrival which changed Lizzie’s outlook on life, the Gin would never have been born.
The idea was born! Rob & lizzie went full pelt in to applying for all the licences needed and with that the hunt for the still commenced. Rob took to researching different still models and meeting up with other craft distillers to see how they all worked. Meanwhile Lizzie started exploring what the farm naturally had growing within the fields and hedgerows and combined with fruits and leaves from the orchard. She then purchased a small table top still, named Willow after their family home, and began experimenting. 47 recipes later they were happy they had a product worth sharing with world. Rob had found different elements of what he wanted and put an order in for a 50L copper column still.
With all licences granted and the still manufacturing being near to completion, it was time to think of a name, fitting for such beauty. Over a G&T in the garden, looking out over the view of the farm at sunset and surrounded by the Ivy tree’s silhouette it was an easy choice. ‘Ivy’ it was. Installed here on the farm in March 2018 and the first run of our recipe ‘Ivy’s Signature’ completed it was time to launch.
On the 5th April, Ivy’s Signature farm to bottle Gin was released on social media to the wider world. With an overwhelming response and brilliant reviews coming in it gave Lizzie the boost to start developing a second Gin. Ivy’s Orchard, a seasonal summer release using all the fruits that grow in the farm orchard was launched in July 2019. A special ‘desert’ Gin with absolutely nothing artificial or any added sugars. This was a hit at the summer agricultural shows. Three batches later the fruit was gone and with that Ivys orchard was too. On to the next launch… A Christmas Gin had been in the boil since the ideas began in 2018. With an abundance of damsons on the farm it was sure to feature as botanical in it. Wanting to stay clear of the usual syrupy damson gins already on the market, Lizzie wanted to capture the true fruit plummy flavour of the great British damson and make a true Christmas spirit! The Holly and the Ivy; spiced damson & Aga dried clementine was launched in late September 2019. Np ordinary Gin, full of flavour and absolutely delicious served as a hot toddy it was a true seasonal success and all 6 batches sold out by late November 2019.
Throughout the first 8 months we were getting asked at all our events if we were going to launch a pink Gin, the answer was yes, but… to be fitting with all our other releases it had to be completely natural and the colour was taking some time to perfect! Blushing Vixen, Rhubarb and elderflower Gin was finally ready and launched on the 30th January 2020. What a start to the new year! With a natural blushing hue derived from beetroot skin and a nostalgic stewed rhubarb flavour with a subtle floral tang, she was definitely not seasonal and here to stay as a sister Gin to Ivy’s Signature. A new Gin and big plans to start the year off. Fast outgrowing the micro distillery, it was time to go bigger and with that plans to put up a new ‘cow shed’ to house our new distillery were submitted to our local council & within a few weeks passed. Thrilled to be able to move on to the next chapter of our business we were eager to start but then Covid-19 hit and with that building work stopped. Looking to start again autumn 2020 and be in for Christmas to welcome our customers to get the full wild fox experience…