The world’s top female cyclists will be able to savour the taste of Warwickshire if they secure victory when a flagship race passes through the county.

An exclusive gin distilled using locally-grown herbs is set to be handed to the winner of the Warwickshire stage of the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour on Thursday 12 June when it reaches a hill-top climax at Burton Dassett.

The 158-kilometre fourth stage will be the first summit finish in the history of the race giving the beauty spot and the county global television coverage.

Shakespeare Distillery, based in Stratford upon Avon, has partnered with the National Herb Centre to create The Warwickshire Winner, a unique bottle of artisan gin that captures the essence of rural Warwickshire.

The handcrafted spirit is being made using botanicals grown just a few pedal-turns away from the race finish at Burton Dassett Country Park and will be presented to the stage winner at the race podium following the stage.

Peter Monks, Director at Shakespeare Distillery, said: “We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to show our support for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, and are looking forward to giving the winner a souvenir of everything that Warwickshire has to offer.

“We are only producing one bottle of Warwickshire Winner using a mini copper still from our Gin School, and we are delighted the organisers are allowing us to present it to the winner. It is a great showcase for the county.”

The herbs selected from the National Herb Centre, which was established in 1997 with the aim of providing everyone with an opportunity to see, enjoy and learn about herbs, included Lemon Verbena, Rosemary – Green Ginger, Blackcurrant Sage and Summer Savory.

Sam Turner from the National Herb Centre said:

“The race coming through the area has caused great excitement in recent years, and having a finish at the top of Burton Dassett has really captured the imagination.

“We were delighted when Shakespeare Distillery approached us and we are only too happy to help. Our links to the heart of the community are constantly growing, and we are excited to be involved in one of the area’s biggest events.

“We have a vast herb selection with many unusual variants to the ones you would normally expect to see, so selecting the right ones was a bit of a challenge. Fortunately we were able to discuss everything on our bistro and coffee shop, before returning to the plant centre and display garden to make the choices.

“Hopefully the winner will enjoy toasting their success – at the end of the race!”

The 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour will head to Warwickshire for the third year running in June, as the region prepares to host the longest stage of the tour, as well as the first ever hill-top finish in race history at Burton Dassett Country Park.

Councillor Izzi Seccombe is the leader of Warwickshire County Council which is one of the main partners in bringing the Women’s Tour to Warwickshire.

The county council also provided the Shakespeare Distillery with business support through its Small Capital Grant Scheme.

Cllr Seccombe said:

“It’s great to see two local businesses come together and create something special to celebrate one of the biggest days on Warwickshire’s sporting calendar.

“It is fantastic to see Shakespeare Distillery going from strength to strength and getting involved with events such as this. Helping small businesses is key to the county council’s economic strategy and it’s always rewarding to see an enterprise that we have worked with flourish like this.”

The business support for Shakespeare Distillery was delivered as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council.