Hydrogen powered gin - our sustainable vision

Hydrogen powered gin - our sustainable vision

Pictured from left to right are Lord Duncan, UK Climate Change Minister; Jon Clipsham, Hydrogen Manager at EMEC and Stephen Kemp, Owner of Orkney Distilling Ltd.

Pictured from left to right are Lord Duncan, UK Climate Change Minister; Jon Clipsham, Hydrogen Manager at EMEC and Stephen Kemp, Owner of Orkney Distilling Ltd.


The HySpirits project has been awarded £148,600 of funding from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to conduct a feasibility study into the development of technology to enable The Orkney Distillery to use hydrogen as a fuel to decarbonise the distilling process.

The project aims to investigate the development of a thermal fluid heater system to operate with hydrogen as the combustion fuel within the distilling process. This system will remove the need to use fossil fuels such as kerosene and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), for the process.

The HySpirits study brings together three different organisations with a common drive to decarbonise energy. Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the other partners are Orkney Distilling Ltd, the site selected for hydrogen fuel integration, and Edinburgh Napier University who will assess the distillery site and develop the hydrogen system design and specification.  

Funding for the HySpirits project was awarded after successfully competing in the Industrial Fuels Switching Competition run by BEIS earlier this year, which aims to stimulate early investment in fuel switching processes and technologies.

Now in its second phase, the competition offers funding for feasibility studies looking into developing technologies to enable the use of a low-carbon fuel across industrial processes.

The winners of the Industrial Fuel Switching competition were announced on Thursday 29 August by Lord Duncan, in advance of a ministerial visit to Orkney.

Lord Duncan, Climate Change Minister, said:    

 “Using the power of hydrogen could help cut emissions, create jobs and make industrial processes cleaner and greener, benefitting the whole economy as we work towards net zero by 2050.   

“This innovative project from HySprits/EMEC will help our efforts to roll out hydrogen at scale by the 2030s – a crucial step towards the end of the UK’s contribution to global warming.” 

Hydrogen has been identified as an alternative fuel for energy intensive industrial processes, such as distilleries. If the technology and business case detailed in the feasibility study proves viable, this offers a substantial decarbonisation opportunity for the wider industry and The Orkney Distillery could become the world’s first hydrogen fuelled distillery. 

Additionally, it is hoped that the findings of this study can be replicated across the sector with the added benefit that the technology will be designed to be retrofitted into existing infrastructure.

Stephen Kemp, Director of Orkney Distilling Ltd, said:

As we look to the future development of The Orkney Distillery and our product offering, it is essential that we innovate in order to drive a low carbon, energy efficient spirit production process.  This collaboration with EMEC and Edinburgh Napier University is incredibly exciting, and a world first for the industry.

Jon Clipsham, Hydrogen Manager at EMEC, said:

“Working with a world class craft distillery, the HySpirits project blends tradition with innovation. Decarbonising the distilling process with green hydrogen derived from local renewables is a great example of the creative ways Orkney is addressing the challenges of the energy transition. We’re proud to be partnering with Orkney Distilling Ltd and Edinburgh Napier University on this transformational project.”   

Professor John Currie, Director of the Scottish Energy Centre at Edinburgh Napier University, said:  

“Industrial fuel switching, in order to lower carbon emissions, provides a significant challenge, particularly in the food and drink sector. This project has brought together a partnership which has enabled the development and exploitation of a readily-deployable hydrogen technology which can make a significant impact across the process industries in order to help achieve our global objectives.”  

Pictured are Lord Duncan, UK Climate Change Minister (left) and Stephen Kemp, Owner of Orkney Distilling Ltd (right).

Pictured are Lord Duncan, UK Climate Change Minister (left) and Stephen Kemp, Owner of Orkney Distilling Ltd (right).

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Brand new cocktail especially for Mother's Day

Brand new cocktail especially for Mother's Day

Mother's Day cocktail with Honey and Raspberry Old Tom Orkney gin

It’s Mothering Sunday this weekend and as an extra wee treat for Mum and for the loved ones in your life, we have a brand-new cocktail!

Our special Mother’s Day cocktail uses our Beyla Honey & Raspberry Old Tom gin, blood orange and a syrup that’s easy to make at home, creating a subtly sweet tipple that has us thinking of springtime ☀️ 

Beyla – Mother’s Day Cocktail


  • 50ml of Beyla Orkney Gin
  • 50ml of thyme syrup (see MAKE AHEAD
  • 50ml of blood orange juice (they are in season now!)
  • 100ml blood orange soda
  • Blood orange peel
  • A handful of raspberries
  • Ice
  • A few raspberries & fresh thyme (for garnish)



(Thyme Syrup)

Put 300ml of water, 150g of caster sugar and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme into a saucepan. Bring it to the boil, and simmer until the sugar is fully dissolved. Take it off the heat and leave it for 10 minutes to infuse. You can put it in a jar or freeze it for future use.

  • Muddle raspberries in your cocktail shaker (top tip – an empty jam jar also does the trick if you find yourself without a cocktail shaker at home!)
  • Add the gin, thyme syrup, blood orange juice and ice cubes before shaking well until combined
  • Fill your favourite cocktail glass with ice and double strain the mixture into it before topping up with blood orange soda (we recommend around 100ml to taste)

Squeeze the blood orange peel over the cocktail to release the natural oils and garnish with fresh raspberries, a sprig of thyme and enjoy with loved ones this weekend. 💖


Orkney Distiller Brand Ambassador Niall

Meet the team: Niall Campbell

Niall Campbell is the Brand Ambassador at Orkney Distilling Ltd – a perfect job for someone who says his passions in life are rugby, travelling and…gin!  

When did you first join the Kirkjuvagr team? 

That’s an interesting question. I relocated to Orkney in May 2019 for my job working in the Kirkwall Airport control tower. When I first moved, I didn’t know anyone, and was living out of a suitcase in a hotel.

I started going to the distillery as a customer for coffee, and got talking to the team, eventually (probably to get me to stop talking) they got me on board to help packaging orders from the online store or as an extra pair of hands to help on an event night.

After my training finished at the airport, I ended up with more free time so offered my services and joined the team as Brand Ambassador.

What is the best part about your role at the Orkney Distillery?

I get to travel all over telling our story and introducing people to our gins.

As the team at the distillery know, I love to speak! The building of relationships with other sellers and distillers is really good fun and I enjoy getting our product out to existing customers as well as introducing our range to people who may never have heard of us.

Plus I love gin so, it’s a win-win!

What does a typical day look like for you?

Mostly, my days are never the same. At the distillery it will be emails, phone calls, liaising with retailers and wholesalers or helping production or the odd tour for visitors.

Out and about usually entails visiting businesses who sell our gins. I am very keen to have a personal relationship with as many of them as I can – especially now that COVID restrictions are beginning to ease.

I usually tie this in with visits to the mainland for trade show events or a pop-up tasting for the public. I also can’t hit the mainland without a visit to my parents – hi Mum! 

What is your favourite gin from the Kirkjuvagr range?

Without a doubt, Arkh-Angell served with Fever Tree’s Mediterranean tonic. That always goes down a treat.

I am always interested to try Arkh-Angell with other mixers too so I always love to hear customer suggestions.


Introducing the new Kirkjuvagr Gin bottles!

Introducing the new Kirkjuvagr Gin bottles!

We have today launched the bespoke new packaging for our award-winning Kirkjuvagr Gin.  A bold and eye-catching design, the bottle features several nods the distillery's Orcadian heritage. 

Our brand strapline - Unmistakeably Orcadian – is engraved on the lip of each bottle and the Norse word ‘Afl’ is found written around the neck in Runes, which translates as “strong” and attests to the Kirkjuvagr brand’s strength of connection to Orkney, both culturally and historically.

Orkney Distilling’s unique repeating wave pattern forms the body of the bottle, symbolising the seafaring traditions of the islands and the bold, exploratory spirit of Orcadians. Its fluidity serves as a reminder that life on Orkney never remains still!

Vegvisir, the mythical Norse compass, is stamped into the bottle and etched atop the bottle closures. The company’s key marque, this ancient Viking wayfinder was said to possess home-bearing powers and, like so many Orcadians who return home to Orkney, is an offer from us for customers to travel to, and explore, Orkney - the home of Kirkjuvagr Gin.

“He who holds this compass will find his way home” is a hidden detail inscribed in the bottle’s base and is cue to the literal contemporary translation, or meaning, of the Vegvisir.

Working in partnership with Stoelzle Flaconnage – who are an industry leader in bespoke premier spirits packaging solutions – the new look Kirkjuvagr bottles represent the latest stage of development for the Distillery.

In tandem with the packaging rebrand, we have also consolidated our product range.  Summer-inspired Harpa Gin is set to be discontinued whilst Beyla and Aurora gins both increase from 50cl to 70cl bottles in order to retain a consistent shelf presence across the range.

To coincide with the launch of the new packaging, a bottling line is set to be installed at the Distillery, which will support a planned increased production capacity.

Orkney Distilling Limited’s Co-Owner, Stephen Kemp said:

“We’ve been continually developing the Company now for almost six years.  A key component of our brand development plan has always been this move into the super-premium packaging category, which now aligns the package with the modernity and high quality of other aspects of the brand and the Company’s operation.” 

“The dramatic change in circumstance caused by COVID and the lockdown created space and time for us to really focus on these projects as a team.  We worked tirelessly for over a year to take them to fruition, and the super-premium package you now see really captures our story and helps us reinforce our prominent position within Scotland’s fantastic array of craft gin brands, whilst our new bottling line will enable us to serve larger markets.”

The updated range of Kirkjuvagr Gins is available here!

Great Days Out In Scotland

Great Days Out In Scotland

Welcome Adventurer! Your epic Orkney Saga Has Begun…

This winter, get up to 50% off of our distillery tour tickets as part of the ‘Great Days Out In Scotland’ campaign delivered by VisitScotland.

Situated on Kirkwall’s harbour-front, the Orkney Distillery is the ideal attraction for gin enthusiasts looking for a quality visitor experience in the heart of Orkney’s main town. Find out more about the history of our brand and how we craft our award-winning gins all while you enjoy a complementary G&T!

Book your distillery tour between the 4th of November 2021 and the 18th of February 2022 and get up to 50% off. 

Click here to book your tour

How to Claim

To claim up to 50% off when booking online please enter the code ‘DAYSOUT50’ at the checkout. If booking in person or over the phone, please just quote ‘days out offer’.

Offer details

All offers are up to up to 50% off, to a maximum of £20 per ticket from 4 November 2021 to 18 February 2022. Tickets are limited. Please pre-book in advance and enter/quote ‘DAYSOUT50’ when booking.

Meet the team: Anja Hall

Meet the team: Anja Hall

For the latest of our meet the team series we grabbed a gin and sat down with Anja Hall - our Business Operations Manager - to discuss her role within our distillery team.

When did you first join the Kirkjuvagr Team?

I first started working at The Orkney Distillery as a Bar Operative and Tour Guide straight out of school in August 2018. I then grew into an admin role and have progressed into my current role as Orkney Distilling’s Business Operations Manager.

What does a typical day at The Orkney Distillery look like for you?

Every day at The Orkney Distillery is different! I spend most of my time in the office taking care of HR and finance and, if you ever call us, I’m usually the person at the other end of the phone. 

Besides my usual admin responsibilities, I love getting stuck in on the bar when I get a chance. I don’t usually get much of an opportunity to be creative in my day-to-day role so love creating new cocktail recipes and posting on our social media pages when time permits.

Now you've mentioned it, tell us your favourite cocktail at the moment?

It's difficult to pick just one but I'd say a Beyla Blush! It's Beyla, Chambord, raspberry syrup and lots of ice topped up with lemonade and finished with sliced strawberries. 

The full recipe, for anyone who wants to try it at home!

  • 35ml Beyla
  • 25ml Chambord
  • Dash of raspberry syrup
  • Add lots of ice and top with lemonade and sliced strawberries

How have the ongoing effects of COVID-19 affected your role and what are you most excited about now that restrictions are beginning to ease?

At the beginning of the pandemic, we began producing hand sanitizer which was a huge change for me. I had never worked in production before, so it was really interesting for me to see another side of the company.

Oot The Back was another big project that was born out of lockdown. I really enjoyed seeing the project through from start to finish, and it was great being able to welcome back our customers to an environment where they feel safe!

I am really looking forward to our next summer season and being able to welcome visitors back to Orkney and to our distillery. Hopefully we will be able to expand our tour offering and return to normality!

Meet the Team: Anna Younie

Since the Orkney Distillery opened in 2018, the Kirkjuvagr story has been one of amazing growth – from the range of products and production volume to the skillset and size of our in-house team. Anna Younie has been a core part of the team throughout the journey – transitioning from weekends working behind the bar to our Events & Marketing Manager.


When did you first join the Kirkjuvagr Team?

I first started at the Orkney Distillery as a tour guide and bar operative in 2018 after graduating and returning home from uni. It was a great chance for me to get involved in a company that was just beginning to develop and it’s been a really exciting journey to be able to grow with the business.


What does a typical day at The Orkney Distillery look like for you?

No two days are ever the same for me - it’s great to have that bit of variety in your job! Between organising content for our social media pages, working with various publications regarding adverts to showcase our gins and helping local businesses and members of the public to arrange their events in the distillery’s function room, there’s always plenty going on!

I especially like being able to work closely with clients who wish to have a bespoke label designed for their own gin. We’ve previously had customers approach us to help them create a personalised label for the likes of weddings, business anniversaries and most recently the launch of a new fishing boat! It’s lovely to be able to help folk create something that’s special and a wee bit different to the usual keepsakes.


How have the ongoing effects of COVID-19 affected your role and what are you most excited about now that restrictions are beginning to ease?

I initially started my journey with the distillery team as a part-time worker on Friday and Saturday evenings before training to be a tour guide and later becoming bar supervisor in 2019! As time progressed, and the pandemic forced us all to close, we dived into the world of hand sanitiser where myself and some of the team began producing and bottling all we could to make sure our hospital, local schools, key workers and latterly shops had what they needed. Over a year later it’s still being distributed and used throughout the community.

I was then able to try my hand on the production line, assisting to distil and bottle the gin. This is a really exciting part of the business to try and learn a bit more about. As places started to reopen, we were able to shift our focus back to distilling our products and spending more time on our own marketing, which allowed me to relocate myself up to the distillery office in May this year. As part of the reopening I have now taken on the events and marketing side of the business. This is the part I really enjoy – being able to create content for our social media and keep you lovely lot up to date with the goings on at the distillery.

It’s been a speedy (and very eventful!) three years with the Kirkjuvagr team and its really exciting to be able to have a job where you can try your hand at a variety of different aspects to the business.