Britain's most northerly distillery launches gin

18 August, 2014

Britain’s most northerly distillery has launched its first gin.

The Shetland Distillery Company has been set up in the Saxa Vord former RAF site on Unst, which calls itself the “island above all others” because it is the most northerly populated island in the British isles.

The distillery was created by Scotch whisky specialist Stuart Nickerson, who was instrumental in reviving the mothballed Glenglassaugh Distillery in 2008, along with his wife Wilma and the owners of the former RAF site, which is now a tourist resort, Frank and Debbie Strang.

Some of the eight botanicals used to flavour Shetland Reel Gin, including apple-mint, are grown on the site.

Nickerson said: “We have created a truly authentic Shetland gin which has a genuine Unst provenance.

“We are developing our plans for Shetland’s first ever whisky, but that is a longer term project. 

“The gin is a fantastic Shetland product embodying all that is good about the islands. It will help us to establish a reputation and gives us a strong platform to build on.”

US country and western singer-songwriter Jim Salestrom, who has performed with greats including Dolly Parton, John Denver and Kenny Rogers, wrote a jingle to celebrate the launch of the gin, and played a special concert on Unst to mark the occasion.

The distillery has been awarded nearly £17,000 by economic and community development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The body’s head of business growth Elaine Jamieson said: “Shetland Reel Gin is a welcome new addition to our high quality food and drink offering, branded on a strong sense of provenance. The market for hand-crafted gin is growing and this is an excellent time to launch a product with authentic credentials which could also have a positive impact on island tourism.”

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