Into the spirit … Glasgow University gets its own brand of gin made by Arts student

By Ellen Thomson at

The University of Glasgow has unveiled its own branded gin created by a former Arts student.

Helen Stewart from Badvo Distillery near Pitlochry has worked with the University to create the exclusive branded version of her gin which is called 1451 – after the year the institution was founded.

It is being launched for the Summer Graduations 2019.

Helen Stewart and gin

Former student Helen Stewart has worked with the university on the project

Ms Stewart, an English Literature and Linguistics graduate, created the new gin which she has been distilled with 100% hand foraged botanicals from the Perthshire hill farm which has been in her family since 1599.

The gin is predominantly sweet apple with a wild mint finish.

The farmer, forager and founder of Badvo Distillery, said: “I have been so lucky to have had great support from the University of Glasgow when I began setting up my business.

“I am delighted to now be back and working with the University to create a great Scottish gin for a great Scottish institution.”

‘Resurgence’

The Stewart family established Badvo Hill Farm on the 7 July 1599. The site of Helen’s Badvo Gin Distillery was previously used for small batch distilling as detailed in a family handbook.

Matthew Williams, general manager at University of Glasgow Retail, said: “We had first thought about creating our own whisky.

“But I came across Helen and learned about her story it felt right especially as Scottish Gin has seen such a resurgence in recent years. We are absolutely delighted to partner with Badvo to create 1451.”

Gin bottles and still

Helen’s family have been farming in Perthshire for centuries

Helen spent two years designing the gin, gaining grant money, and converting the disused farm buildings before launching Badvo in 2018.

Helen said the support she received from her lecturers and Student Enterprise Hub at the University were invaluable on her entrepreneurial journey to set up her own distillery.

She added: “I love distilling and as long as I love distilling this is what I will be doing.

“I’d love to do more on the farm and I love being outside. I have a sweet life doing what I love.”

Glasgow University

The University helped Helen with business support for her venture

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow said: “At the University of Glasgow, we recognise and celebrate the achievements of our alumni who have left us to work as leaders in their fields.

“We are delighted to see this product being create for the University by one of our former Arts students.

“I want to congratulate everyone involved in the creation of 1451.”