An Introduction To… Our Head Distiller
My name is Oli Stokes, I’m 24, and I’ve been distilling the world’s best gin for just over 12 months.
It all started with a phone call from one local business to another in search of an extra pair of hands in the run up to Christmas. My Dad, being on the receiving end of this phone call and the proprietor of Farndon Fields Farm Shop (a proud Warner's stockist), offered my services.
I graduated from University with a 1st class Medical Sciences degree in 2013, but like many of my classmates, didn’t actually know what I wanted to do with it. This naturally led me back into the family business as an opportunity to do something while I figured out what my true calling was. Various roles and several months later I was thoroughly fed up and no closer to finding the answer. It was at this time that Sion presented the opportunity to get involved at Warner's Distillery.
I started off corking, wax-sealing, hand labelling, and packaging bottles for hours on end just feet from the still while all the time gazing at it and scrutinizing the intricate pipework and genius German engineering. This was accompanied by a persistent flow of questions from me to Sion about every aspect of the beautiful copper machine and how it worked. I quickly gained a working knowledge of distilling, and coupled with a nerd-like enthusiasm, Sion entrusted me with the duty of crafting this magical juniper spirit.
Approximately 92 distillations, 37704 litres, and 53864 bottles later I’m starting to get to know Curiosity pretty well and have developed a healthy passion for my craft. What excites me the most is the almost endless possibilities of ingredients and flavour combinations that can go into what we call gin. This opens the door for crazy ideas and an ample source of flavour experiments to stimulate a naturally ingrained scientific curiosity…and you can drink the results! This unique combination of art and science really does make being a distiller a truly exciting challenge and I look forward to creating many more interesting and appealing interpretations of this classic spirit for the world to enjoy.
By Oli Stokes, Head Distiller*****