I’m in Forth, South Lanarkshire, searching out reports of a still on a remote farm in them thar hills. A little disappointingly this ‘aint Moonshine boys, (I’ll stop with the accent), it’s something altogether more civilised in the form of The Wee Farm Distillery, which is producing a huge range of gin liqueurs and a couple of signature gins, the Drover’s gin, and the Farmers Strength Gin, which will put hairs on your chest.

Jenny McKerr and her husband Stephen took over Forth Main Farm just two years ago along with their three young children, and have been working away on their Shorthorn herd which they are crossing with Wagyu, and their flock of hill sheep, but they realise that income from that venture is some way off and the idea of having a diversification project running alongside didn’t seem like a bad idea.

Jenny persuaded Stephen to go along with her to a tasting day in Edinburgh to give them the basics of how to go about producing their own gin.

It went well enough for Jenny to admit to Stephen that she had already priced up a still before they had even got there. Thankfully he agreed to the plan and Jenny was on her way.

Before she could even get to that point, she needed some expert advice, and that came in the form of the Craft Distilling Business which swooped in and gave her all the advice about starting up a business along these lines.

She bought ‘Our Morag’ the still that sits proudly in the distillery (which got built before their house – “Priorities,” she says) which is a 30-litre still.

Of course, she had many hoops to hop through to get to this point. “Knowing what I know now, I doubt I would have done it, so it was probably a blessing that I didn’t know how many boxes I would have to tick.”

However, Jenny does say the local council has been very helpful, each department that had to come out and see what was going on, were in the main positive, and happy to support a rural business. She is now at the stage that she has her full Premises License.

“I love the production side of this business, but the paperwork comes along with it, and, as I am in charge of the distillery, I make sure I am on top of it.”

This is her baby, she has experimented, sampled and gauged opinion til she got the right recipe for her signature gins.

In the bare stone wall distillery, we are surrounded by huge Kilner jars full of exuberant colours created by berries, pears, ginger, fruit, spices… all sorts of incredible mixtures are being concocted for the gin liqueurs.

Jenny says: “Our first launch product, The Drovers gin, which is 45%, celebrates Scotland’s rich agricultural heritage and pays respect to the values, traditions and spirits of famers who continue to put food on our table every day.

“It’s the perfect gin to compliment a good Scotch steak due to the careful balance of citrus, thistles, heather, pink peppercorns and allspice.”

The first batch sold out in three days. Things were looking rosy.

If you want something a little more substantial, Jenny has produced the Farmers Strength gin, which sits at a hearty 57% abv. She tells me it is the perfect tipple for the hipflask at the rugby. It heats you from your head to your toes.

There is a huge range of gin liqueurs (20%), all different colours and flavours. It’s a veritable sweet shop of choice with around 40 to choose from. She splits them into two sections, the traditional sweet based ones and the Heritage fruit ones, some with a little more spice involved.

She has some willing volunteers to help her decide on the winning combinations of flavours. The Climpy Gin Club, which is a lucky band of locals, family and friends, meet every couple of months and give Jenny some honest feedback about her new flavours, I’m guessing there’s a waiting list to join up.

She has just had a successful Christmas on the sales front with her gift hampers and with her eight-year-old daughter Catherine’s creative help by making little hats for the bottles which went down a treat with customers.

Jenny has a head full of ideas and it seems the infectious energy to make it happen. She has some more gin festivals in mind, there is a few hotels in the area now stocking her gin; she is aiming to get her gin into some of the Scottish restaurants in London; and she has been in talks with chefs who want a specific gin based liqueur to use in speciality desserts.

Up until now, Jenny has had to buy in her botanticals, but she has been talking with Dorothy Thomson of Glenbield Farm, who can grow 11 of the 13 botanicals that Jenny uses. She has received a grant through Connect Local Funding, which will cover the cost of installing raised beds at Dorothy’s so that she can be using locally grown botanicals in her production.

This year the ideas are flowing. She has an idea to produce a honey berry gin in the summertime, which she tells me tastes amazing. And Jenny has more stockists in mind that she wants to target. Initially, she thought that farm shops would be the ideal place for her gin, but found that, surprisingly, lots of them don’t have drinks licences.

She has a real twinkle in her eye when she talks about the possibilities at The Wee Farm Distillery.

When Jenny and Stephen take time to think about how their last couple of years have turned out, she says that she is really pleased by what they have accomplished. They are first generation farmers, they have established their beef and sheep enterprises, put up their own sheds, built a distillery, increased throughputs in Stephen’s fencing business, and she is a finalist in two categories of the upcoming Scottish Rural Awards; in the business start up section and the diversification section.

She has had tremendous help from her local community and she says she is astonished by the amount of talent that surrounds her. She says: “The skills on my doorstep is unbelievable. It’s a great feeling to know you have a good community at the back of you here in Lanarkshire.”

Her branding has been skilfully created by (ArtiAnne) Anne Anderson, who has been a great help to her. But the hard work of bottling and labelling every bottle is done by hand, by Jenny.

She finishes by telling us that she doesn’t feel like she is working at all, as she enjoys it so much. “I’m having a great time making good honest, Scottish gin.”

For more information go to: www.theweefarmdistillery.co.uk.


The distillery is open on Saturdays for sales, pick ups. Online ordering is in the process of being set up.

Prices: Gin Liqueurs 20cl £10.00, 50cl £22.00

Drovers 20cl £14.00; 70cl £36.00

Farmers strength 50cl £36.00.