Multi-award-winning St Maur is a small-batch premium elderflower liqueur handcrafted in Alcester, Warwickshire, from responsibly sourced ingredients, with elderflowers gathered in ancient family-owned woodlands.
St Maur is the creation of The Earl and Countess of Yarmouth, William and Kelsey Seymour who first produced it uniquely for their wedding guests at Ragley Hall in Alcester three years ago before deciding to turn it into full-time family business at the start of lockdown.
William is the eldest son of the Marquess of Hertford and grew up at Ragley Hall, his family’s seat since the 18th century. But St Maur signals an exciting new direction for the Earl who, having stepped away from a life of aristocratic privilege, is driven by his vision to build not just a livelihood, but a ‘new legacy’ to be proud of for his two sons.
Steeped in history, St Maur is the surname used by the family in medieval times and has ancestors who rode with William the Conqueror, but by the time Jane Seymour married Henry VIII the name had changed from ‘St Maur’ to ‘Seymour.’
The wild blossoms used to make St Maur are hand-picked by William and Kelsey and their friends and family in the shadow of trees which grew when their ancestors were young. The coordinates on the bottles will take you to Ladies Wood in the bucolic Warwickshire countryside, and to an elder grove where the elderflowers are picked in early summer.
MT: Tell me a little bit about your background in business
St Maur is a first venture into business rather than employment, and we didn’t have experience in the drinks industry when we started.
But if you want to strike out as an entrepreneur then you have to start somewhere, and the stars aligned with St Maur.
MT: How did you come up with the idea of a business like yours?
We wanted to start a brand that could in time represent a revitalised family legacy. The product started with a drink for guests on our wedding day.
It worked so well that it became one of the stars which aligned, and St Maur was born.
MT: What is the main inspiration for your services?
There are brands which have literally spent millions concocting a heritage. We saw that we didn’t have to make any story up and could set about building an authentic brand with what we have.
That was important to us. On our logo are map coordinates which will take you to a grove, in an ancient woodland, Ladies Wood in Warwickshire, which we have the privilege of owning and caring for, where we pick wild elderflowers for St Maur.
That’s just one example of the provenance of what we do, and it’s an inspiration. Because we have such an authentic and wide-ranging story to draw on, we felt we just had to do something with it.
MT: Tell me about St.Maur’s mission?
Our purpose with St Maur is to offer the consumer a little drop of England’s heart, to enjoy and share, wherever they are in the world. We are from the Heart of England, and it’s a beautiful place.
We are also farmers, and every day we are reminded of just how fragile that beauty is, and of the need to sustain, nurture, and protect our planet. That has to be fundamental to our mission as businesspeople.
MT: What is unique about your business?
There is an adage in marketing that when you narrow your proposition, you broaden your appeal.
St Maur is an English elderflower liqueur, which is quite a narrow segmentation, but with an Englishness and a brand story which makes it interesting and indeed unique.
MT: What is your kind of clientele?
People who love, people who share, and people who enjoy being with friends. We want St Maur to be inclusive, and broad in its appeal.
MT: What are the challenges of a business like yours?
All the usual for a small business and consumer product in a tough economic climate. Launching a drink during a lockdown had its nuances too!
MT: What are the rewards of providing a service like yours?
Now we’ve got the brand underway, I’m not sure I would want to be doing anything else. St Maur is a drink which “works on the lips”, as a sip and in cocktails and summer drinks.
When people try St Maur for the first time and go “oh, that’s lovely!” I get a buzz from that every time.
MT: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business like yours?
Tenacity pays the bills.
MT: What are the next steps for St.Maur?
As a business, we are anchored locally and will continue to play our part in our local community. We are building our position nationally, and we can expect that to take a lot of work, but already we are turning our strategic thinking to how we take that little drop of England’s heart across the world.
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