A day in the life of...

Andrea Watt, Orkney Gin Company.

Published: 20th December 2018

Our exclusive ‘A day in the life of’ editorial feature series provides a short and snappy insight into a day in the life of someone who works in the Scottish Gin sector. This might be a distiller, shop owner or bar owner, but all play a role in the story of Scottish Gin.

Fourth in the series is Andrea Watt, one third of Orkney Gin Company, which includes her husband Gary and daughter Erin. While Gary works at his other job as captain of a Ferry, it’s up to Andrea and Erin to steer the ship! Andrea gives us a little insight into what it’s like to run a gin company on a remote island like Orkney, whilst delivering to customers and planning for events all over the country.


It’s an early start dropping some relations off at the local airport, which was recently blessed with parking charges! So up early to avoid paying these at all costs!


Quick dash to the local supermarket on the way home, there’s no 24 hour supermarkets on the island so got to go when you can.


Get home in time to feed the furry and scaly members of the Orkney Gin Company team – two dogs, a cat and a goldfish. Grab some breakfast before heading to the distillery.


At the distillery, I check on our recent batch of Mikkelmas Gin and the botanicals. Got an order waiting to be dispatched. Luckily we’re on the courier’s route so I prepare all the paperwork so the order is ready to go when the courier shows up.


Erin pops her head in the door and is ready to help out. I work my way through a list of emails and forward some stuff onto Gary who’s currently at his other job as a captain of a Ferry.


Finally caught up on my emails so I check on our application for an Occasional Licence. We plan to sell some of our special mulled gin we’ve created for a local Christmas event, organised by a fantastic local business.


My inbox pings with another wholesale order. I get this processed and the paperwork turned around lighting quick in the hope I can get this order out with the other order that’s still sitting waiting to picked up by the courier. Double check paper work for both orders just as the courier arrives.

Erin is busy checking our advertising schedule is up to date. She spends the next hour on the phone to various publications to make sure everything is in order. She’s laughing so everything must be fine!

I help the courier load up his van.


Erin has made me lunch – what a treat! We’ve got another four legged friend joining us for a week so we take our dogs out for a quick walk, pick up our house guest and head home. Just in time for an important delivery from the Postie. New labels for a new project have arrived safe and well.


Dogs are fed and excited they have a visitor. Erin and I check over the new labels and apply a few to our bottles to see how they look. It’s a project we’ve been working on for some time, so to finally see the labels on our bottle is great. Erin takes some photos and we email them over to Gary for his feedback.


How did that happen, 3.00pm already. We’ve still got a large batch of Mikkelmas Gin sitting waiting to be decorated with labels. I hear my computer ping a few times and know there will be more paperwork waiting for me once we get the labelling done.

I check my emails and have confirmation of some of the events we’re going to be attending. Organising the events is like a military operation but I’m the queen of lists so everything is added to our calendar. Because we’re on Orkney, attending events on the mainland really involves a lot of logistics, not only getting to where the event is being held, but also accommodation, packing our display stands, organising gins and more. I don’t sleep well if there isn’t a list on the go! We have representatives at the House of Bruar Annual Sale, which we are pretty excited about, and are heading to the Gin Fayre in St Andrews and Country Living Show, so a busy time.


Start the unenviable task of labelling. As we do all our labelling by hand, it takes ages but it’s also a chance for some social time. Guaranteed there is always lots of laughter during labelling. We don’t get it all finished (again!) as Erin has to go to the house and deal with some calls.


I do a general tidy up around the distillery. We’ve just moved in so nothing is where it should be, it’s going to take a few weeks to get things properly organised in here but we’re delighted that our distillery is finished.


More emails and phones calls and organising accommodation and travel for our next event. I check with Erin what we need to work on tomorrow. Of course this all goes on my list! Catch up on the rest of the paperwork. We’ve still got to tackle the remaining bottles that need labels. I’m hoping tomorrow will be a bit quieter with admin so we can get the bottles finished up… well a girl can dream!


Finally sit down for dinner (we love food in our family). Once we’re fed, it’s time to take the dogs out for a walk again. It’s a lovely evening with a nice cool breeze. Considering it’s been a long day, I stop for a minute and look out over the island and surrounding seas – what a beautiful sight.


Finalise some invoicing before finally sitting down with a cup of tea. I never forget to tell myself I love what we do at the Orkney Gin Company. We’re very lucky to call Orkney home, it’s an amazing place and there is no where else like it in the world.


Time for bed and must get a good nights sleep. The bottles of Mikkelmas Gin will be waiting for me in the morning!

You can learn more about Orkney Gin Company here.

You can read all about Orkney’s latest, very limited edition, and owner of afore mentioned important labels, Johannistag Navy Strength Old Tom here.

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