G is for Gin (and Good)

Beinn an Tuirc, makers of Kintyre Gin.

Published: 27th September 2018

Our G is for Gin (and Good) editorial series looks at the Scottish Gin makers and brands who use their Scottish Gin for Good. Some of these brands use profits from their sales to help causes that they’re close to, which vary from supporting local charities and causes to special gins that have been created specifically for good causes.

In the second of our G is for Gin (and Good) editorial series we meet Niall Macalister Hall, MD of Beinn an Tuirc Distillers, makers of Kintyre Gin. We learn more about this sustainable distillery and how they’re giving back to the environment and local community.

What is your name and what do you do?

Niall Macalister Hall, MD of Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Limited.

How did Beinn an Tuirc come to be?

The company itself was established in February 2016, however we didn’t start production until June 2017. In 2015 we installed a 99kw hydro electric scheme on our property, and from that we began to export electricity to the grid. At around the same time, I thought it would be great if we could somehow further diversify the estate and at the same utilise some of our own green energy. The craft gin movement was just taking off at the time, and therefore we began the research and recipe development required to get us to where we are today!

Describe your gin in 3 words.

Spicy, sweet, complex.

Tell us how your Distillery does ‘Good’?

In addition to utilising our own green energy (in fact we remain a huge net exporter of electricity), we plant trees on the property to off-set against any carbon produced. We have a bottle recycling scheme, we use our own water from our spring here, and everything we do in the production process is done in such a way to minimise waste and the impact on the environment. From a social point of view, we provide employment in a very fragile part of Scotland, and we also sponsor the local pipe band. The latter coincided with the band becoming a senior band and, with our sponsorship, it is hoped that this will provide further reasons for school leavers to stay and work in the area.

Why was it important to build a sustainable Distillery?

It’s important from an environmental point of view, and also because that is what consumers are looking for – in other words, it is great from a marketing point of view. It allows us to stand out from the crowd and produce a truly sustainable product.

What’s your biggest highlight of the Kintryre Gin adventure so far?

Probably our biggest highlight to date has been our exports to Japan, Andorra, Italy, Germany and Denmark, with a further consignment about to be dispatched to Australia. This was all achieved within 12 months of commencing trading.

What has been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome?

Red tape!  Building warrants, licencing, more licencing, and even more licencing!

What support would you like to see available for the Scottish Distillery and Drinks sector?

Brexit is a huge issue for us, and others. We have limited experience of exporting, however it is still very much part of our plans to have exported sales contributing to around 25% of total turnover. The future is obviously very unclear, however a huge amount of support will be required to small businesses such as ourselves moving forward.

What are the long term plans for your Distillery and business?

We have some very exciting plans up our sleeve at the moment, which will help the business grow and diversify. We can’t say very much at the moment, but let’s say what we have planned will be a very different way of doing something that has been done for years!

What’s your ‘perfect serve’?

Our perfect serve is 50ml of Kintyre Gin, ice, Mediterranean Fever-Tree, a slice of lime and a bit of basil. Perfect!

You can learn more about Beinn an Tuirc here.

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