The year 2019 has been a memorable one for all of us at the Isle of Barra Distillers. Although every year has been a highlight for us, we really do recognise the significance of this one.
Firstly, as most of you will be aware, we proudly opened our Distillery Doors on our homeland on the 8th May. We had hoped and aimed for our Distillery to operate from the end of 2020 and with the hard work and commitment put into this project, we had achieved our target 18 months in advance. Of course, this could not have been done without the support we received from you, our customers. We are forever thankful for the tremendous feedback and following we have received from our Island Spirit and can only continue to keep this on a high.
Opening the Distillery on the Isle of Barra meant we not only opened the first operating Distillery on our small rock but we also became Scotland’s most westerly Distillery, right on the edge of the Atlantic. A truly unique setting and wonderful moment for our small populated home.
By having our Distillery on the Island, we were able to fulfil more of our dreams. We were able to have full control over the process of creating our fearless spirit – collecting our main botanical carrageen seaweed off the shores, distilling, bottling, labelling and personally posting all orders for our customers to receive and enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. A lot of work goes into each bottle and we cannot be prouder of it.
Given the increased workload created at the Isle of Barra Distillers, we were able to tick another dream off the list, a dream of creating employment for our community. In October 2019, just five months after our opening, we welcomed the arrival of our first Brand Ambassador, Debbie MacMillan. Having an Isle of Barra Distillers Brand Ambassador was both an exciting and imperative move for us as we could see the benefit of having a team member on the mainland that can share our Island story and spirit with volumes of venues and customers. Although Debbie is based in Glasgow, she is originally from the Isle of Barra which is extremely important for us to have an employee with experience and knowledge of our beautiful Island and Spirit. Debbie’s roles include creating opportunities by hosting Gin Masterclasses, Gin Tastings, Meeting & Events and also continuously growing our portfolio of stockists here in the UK.
We also attended many great events and shows throughout the year including the Country Living Christmas Fair at Glasgow’s SECC, where we received superb feedback on our Barra Atlantic Gin. And the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham, the first show we have attended south of the border.
We released two stunning promotional videos over our social media platforms this year, which really captured the rugged beauty of our Island home and our Distillery. Video credit to Stephen Kearney for his superb work. If you haven’t already, then please do check out our promo videos on one of our accounts, @BarraDistillers or @isleofbarradistillers
Last but certainly not least, this year seen us shortlisted for numerous awards, a huge achievement for our fairly new company. We were finalists at the Scottish Gin Awards in Glasgow on the 10th October for London Dry Gin of the Year category. And also shortlisted for the Best Distilled Spirit Award at The Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards in Inverness on the 15th November where we received a Highly Commended Award.
We are just getting started here at the Isle of Barra Distillers and are really looking forward to sharing our achievements with you in 2020.