Our ARTISAN DRINK finalists for the 2017 Scottish Rural Awards are…
Annan, Dumfries & Galloway
This unique distillery was reborn in 2014 and transformed into a 21st century whisky making centre and visitor attraction after it ceased production in 1918. Today it is a hub for the local community, with a dog-friendly coffee shop and an emphasis on local employment. It is the first and last distillery in Scotland, sitting not far from the border and has helped to attract tourists to the beautiful area of Annan.
Quarrier’s Village, Bridge of Weir
Established in 2010, Crossbill produce gin that is made up 100 per cent Scottish botanicals. They have helped to reintroduce an industry that has been out of Scotland for over 200 years, creating financial benefits for landowners and enabling promotion and preterition of the country’s natural environment. Their distillery shed won Channel 4’s Shed of the Year 2015 and Crossbill have also been praised for their work by Plant Life Scotland.
Strathearn Distillery Ltd
Taking whisky back to its roots, Strathearn Distillery also produces gin, Scotland’s first cider brandy, the first peated genever and the first bierbrand. Their visitor centre works closely with the local farm shop and also the local post office. They also recently created a special gin for the Scottish Air Ambulance charity ball which was donated for the event.
Arbikie Highland Estate
Run by brothers Iain, John and David Stirling, Arbikie Highland Estate produces single-estate, small batch Arbikie Vodka, Kirsty’s Gin and Arbikie Chilli Vodka. Casks are also available to purchase for the first Arbikie whisky, which is expected to be released in the next two years. Recently, Arbikie has been developing Kirsty’s Gin, named after Arbikie’s Master Distiller Kirsty Black. The gin is made from Arbikie’s original potato vodka and is infused with botanicals including kelp, carline thistle and blueberry.
Castle Douglas, Kirkcubrightshire
Sulwath is the principle brewery in Dumfries & Galloway, with its Tap Room being a popular haunt for real ale lovers in the area. Established in 1996, the brewery turns out seven brews and is part of the area’s annual beer festival. Despite its popularity, the brewery at its core is a small family-run business that takes pride in supporting local employment and causes. Sulwath recently won CAMRA Champion Porter of Scotland 2016.
Born in 2010, Waulkmill Cider was Scotland’s first commercial craft cider and multi-award-winning perry maker, as deemed by CAMERA. With a zero waste policy, the company sell their waste to farmers for cattle and have been recognised for this by the Green Apple Awards. The business also purchases surplus fruits from local residents and works with landowners and estates to maintain productivity of ancient orchards in exchange for the resulting harvest.
Gordon Castle Gin
Gordon Castle Gin was brought to life in 2014 when Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox sold their first bottle at The Royal Highland Show. They have now sold more than 20,000 bottles, using botanicals from their Walled Garden in Moray to create the spirit. Gordon Castle Gin also benefits other local business Gordon & MacPhail who distributes the spirit. They now export the brand in Europe to countries such as Belgium and Denmark.
St Andrews Brewing Company
St Andrews, Fife
Due to a lack of breweries in the area, Bob Phaff set up St Andrews Brewing Company in January 2012. The main desire for the company was to produce innovative, high quality products that could compete in the craft beer market while proudly representing the history and traditions of St Andrews. The fruit used in the production of the beer is harvested from their neighbour St Andrews Botanics. The company’s experiences are currently being shared with the James Hutton Institute with the aim of promoting the commercial growth of hops in Scotland and the natural and locally sourced ingredients that are available to Scottish Brewers.
Ogilvy spirits produce Scotland’s first potato vodka. Established in 2015 by fourth-generation farmers Graeme and Caroline Jarron, the vodka was developed after the decision was made to take the farms operations in a new direction. They now aim is to harness the increased appetite for gin and focus this on vodka, as well as reaching the point where all rejected potatoes are used in the production of the spirit. The company is part of the Food Life group and aims to employ locals where possible.
The Hosh, Crieff
Dating back to 1775, Glenturret lay silent for many years before being brought back to life by local man James Fairlie in 1957. Today, Glenturret still preserves its heritage by producing its whisky in the same traditional way it did centuries ago. Whisky is hand mashed in mash tuns and water from he near by Loch Turret is used. It is the ingredients that make Glenturret a truly Scottish, artisan drink.