HELEN Stewart set up Badvo in July last year as she saw a gap in the market for gin with hand-foraged ingredients like nettles, rowan berries, apples and honeysuckle. The ingredients all come from Stewart’s family Badvo hill farm which she wanted to revive with the gin business.

Name: Helen Stewart

Age: 23

Position: Founder/director

WHAT’S YOUR BUSINESS CALLED?

Badvo

WHERE IS IT BASED?

Pitlochry, Perthshire

WHY DID YOU SET UP THE BUSINESS?

I SET it up for a few reasons. When I worked in a distillery when I was 18 I fell in love with the whole process and industry. I wanted to be involved in it. My family had a farm that I wanted to revive.

There are quite a few gins about but they use the same ingredients – forest root, coriander and lemon peel. Legally we need to use juniper to call it gin. On the farm we can do it all on site and use lots of ingredients that people have heard of like mint and honeysuckle. It makes a great taste.

The feedback has been great so far. We only launched in July but we are going from strength to strength.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM COMPETING BUSINESSES?

WE can do 100% hand-foraged gin. There are smaller brands doing semi hand-foraged gin out there but we can be completely sustainable. We must be one of the only companies using hand-foraged juniper.

In terms of trends we would never make things like pink sparkly gin. We want to stay true to our heritage which restricts out interest in following trends. I never thought we’d make sloe gin but there was a shortage of sloe berries recently and we had them on the farm. Never say never. I am happy doing my own thing.

The National:

It is just me and my mum Avril who helps me with foraging, distilling and packaging. We have always worked together on the farm since I was a child. We are quite active members of the farming community at the moment. The farm is more than 400 years old.

WHAT IS YOUR TARGET MARKET?

WE pre-sold the first batch of bottles for £6500. The people who bought those were people who were really interested in gin and care about the farm aspect. It was 50/50 men and women who bought the initial batch so I deliberately made the brand unisex. Provenance is a buzzword in gin at the moment and we can be completely transparent and show you the spring water it comes from.

We have started focusing on high-end drink shops and are looking at domestic contracts this year. We are looking at exporting and have put it off to see what’s happening with Brexit. We are tentative over pursuing overseas contracts in mainland Europe. Our business is so small so we are not worried. Scotland has such a great reputation for spirits and people really value it. People love buying spirits abroad from Scotland so it isn’t just us losing out.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT RUNNING THE BUSINESS?

DRINKING copious amounts of gin! I like the variation of distilling and going to events. Every day is different and we are always looking towards the next thing.

The distillery is 100% grant built. We have met other business people and there are lots of support networks out there. Everyone is friendly

even though we are competing with each other. With hand foraging our gin is unique. I feel in Scotland you have to be taken seriously. We already have a Scottish history of spirits like whisky. With hand foraging it is unique. If it was a crowded industry it would probably be more cut throat.

The biggest challenge is getting people to take me seriously as I am young and a woman in a male-dominated industry. I wasn’t anticipating that. I’m dealing with people on a new level. It is a shift in mind set as working for other companies you

are used to people telling you what to do.

WHERE DO YOU HOPE THE BUSINESS WILL BE IN 10 YEARS’ TIME?

I LOVE distilling and still see myself doing this in 10 years’ time, it is such a great industry to be part of. It would be great to have shops set up, exports set up and to set up other diversification in the business that is not as obvious as branching out into rum and whisky.

I would like to do something fun like expand substantially and turn the distillery into a venue as it had beautiful views. It would be great if the public could enjoy it the way we do.