A wee gin from The Wee Farm
- Jay Thundercliffe
- 9 October 2018
The Wee Farm Distillery is South Lanarkshire's first micro-distillery
Jenny McKerr has spent most of her working life in the beef industry. It's a passion that led to her taking over a small livestock farm at Climpy in South Lanarkshire a couple of years ago. So when she decided to start up the only distillery currently operating in the county, The Wee Farm, she was clear what sort of gin she wanted to make.
'I've got a real passion for farming and beef,' explains McKerr, 'so our starting point was that the gin should go well with a good steak. It's always red wine with a steak, which can dehydrate you – we wanted a drink that would be more refreshing, while still complementing the beef.' The resulting Drover's Gin has 13 botanicals including citrus, thistle and heather. More unusually it also includes pink peppercorns and allspice, which McKerr credits most for the successful marriage with prime Scottish beef.
There's been something of a clamour for Jenny's gin, with her first batch of 100 bottles selling out in a matter of days. Batch two went at the gin-based Juniper Festival held in Edinburgh, part of the gin scene of festivals and events that has shown McKerr an unexpected side to spirit production: 'When I started up I imagined it might be just me alone, filling bottles and labelling, but I've been going to shows and events and the people I've met have been fantastic, really passionate and knowledgeable.'
The most important member of the operation is Morag, the mini still installed at the farm. 'She's only small at 30 litres but she's really good,' says McKerr. 'Her size means we can experiment a bit more, try out new botanicals and work on our future products.' Those products also include the Wagyu Shorthorn cross cattle that are expected to be treading McKerr's fields soon.
Meanwhile, South Lanarkshire's first micro-distillery is causing something of a stir in the sleepy hills. 'We're in Climpy – not much happens here so there's a real buzz at the new distillery and we're encouraging people to come and pick up their orders. We'll introduce them to Morag – and our cows.'