Kirkjuvagr Gin sails back north with Bronze Medal

Kirkjuvagr Gin sails back north with Bronze Medal

Orkney Distilling Ltd’s Kirkjuvagr Gin, launched last year, has won a prestigious bronze medal at the inaugural Scottish Gin Awards.

Scottish Gin Awards BronzeKirkjuvagr secured its accolade in the fiercely contested Distilled Gin of the Year category of the awards, held in Glasgow last week. Orkney Distilling Ltd was also a finalist in the Excellence in Marketing section of the event.

The Scottish Gin Awards, held in partnership with The Scottish Gin Society, is a new annual business event celebrating innovation and excellence in gin distilling in Scotland.

Scotland now produces over 70-per cent of the gin consumed in the UK, with exports predicted to outsell whisky by 2020.

The awards saw 75 Scottish gins marked by 12 expert judges in a blind tasting, adjudicated by the international sensory management consultancy, Cara Technology. Award categories covered everything from innovation, export and marketing, to design and business growth.

Stephen Kemp, who manages Orkney Distilling Ltd with his wife Aly, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have come away from this first Scottish Gin Awards with such a prestigious accolade. We only launched Kirkjuvagr last year and, whilst sales have far exceeded our expectations, we were keen to see how our gin would fare when going head to head with the country’s more established brands. To secure a bronze medal in the Distilled Gin of the Year section of the event, after scrutiny by the country’s top gin experts, is a massive achievement for all the Kirkjuvagr team. It was also hugely encouraging for us to reach the final of the Excellence in Marketing category.”


He added: “Work on our new distillery and visitor centre in Kirkwall is nearing completion and we very much look forward to being able to properly display our award when our doors open to the public early next year.”

Winners of Scottish Gin Awards

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Orkney Distilling head of production Louis Wright and director Stephen Kemp

We welcome a new Head of Production

Everyone at Orkney Distilling is thrilled to welcome Louis Wright onto the team!

Louis has been appointed to head of production for our new Kirkwall distillery and visitor centre, which is set to open later this year.

Originally from Kirkwall, Louis is currently undergoing full training for his role with Strathearn Distillery, where some of the country’s finest craft spirits are produced, and will be producing all of our gin in the new Kirkwall premises as soon it reaches completion later this spring.

Louis, a former pupil of Kirkwall Grammar School, studied History at the University of Edinburgh, working as a tour guide at Highland Park Distillery during his summer holidays. Following his graduation he worked in Belgium for three months with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

 Louis said: “It has long been my intention to build a career in the drinks trade, particularly after having worked at Highland Park as a tour guide during summers at home.

 “I was fascinated by how alcohol was produced, particularly gin and whisky, but also captivated by the stories that underpin each product, which are almost as important as the spirits themselves.

 “When I came back from Belgium, initially for Christmas, Stephen and Aly Kemp from Orkney Distilling contacted me about the position on their team. Kirkjuvagr is a high quality and authentic product with a unique story and sense of place, so it was a great opportunity for me.” 

 Louis added: “My role at Orkney Distilling will primarily be as head of production, but it'll also involve product and brand development, along with boosting public engagement through the medium of tours, tasting, exhibitions and trade shows. I can't wait to get started!”

 Director Stephen Kemp said: “Louis caught our eye early on in the hunt for suitable candidates for this important role within our new Kirkwall distillery. We knew he was an experienced and knowledgeable guide, with a strong academic background, but we were also aware of his great enthusiasm for the drinks trade, his appreciation of the distilling craft and his willingness to learn.”

All the best Louis!

Win tickets to Orkney's first Gin Festival!

Win tickets to Orkney's first Gin Festival!

The very first Orkney Gin Festival is happening next month, and we have two tickets to give away! 

Held on 16th-17th February at The Sound Archive in Kirkwall, the festival will feature tasting sessions, samples and a chance to meet the makers who are behind some of the best small gin companies in Scotland. We will of course be there!

To win a pair of tickets, design a cocktail using Kirkuvagr gin and share it on social media using the hashtag #orkneyginfestival. We'll pick our favourite which will also feature as our signature drink at the festival! 

Keep an eye out for more information on the Orkney Gin Festival on The Old Library Facebook page or Twitter feed. 

Last date for entries is Monday 12th February 2018, and remember to tag your photos #orkneyginfestival

Good luck! 

Kirkjuvagr Gin launches in Scandanavia

Kirkjuvagr Gin launches in Scandanavia

Kirkjuvagr gin has launched in Sweden and Denmark, in partnership with online retailer Pure Gin.

Going back to its Norse roots, Kirkjuvagr is available at www.puregin.dk, Denmark’s leading online gin specialist, and is one of only three listed Scottish premium gins.

Pure Gin are self-confessed gin lovers, and as they say themselves, the site was created out of a passion for gin and the desire to offer the very best gin products to their customer base within Scandinavia.

We’re delighted that Kirkjuvagr is among such good company, and that fans of our gin in Denmark and Sweden can now purchase - with free home delivery!

Norse god slain by festive plant

Norse god slain by festive plant

There was this young Norse god called Baldr, see? His dad was Norse god boss Odin, his mum, Frigg, Queen of Asgard (look it up, or just watch the film).

Baldr was a popular guy, loved by everything and everyone. Despite all this adulation, Baldr began freaking out about dying, with scary premonitions and everything.

Like any good goddess mum would do, Frigg pulled a few strings and got all the creatures on Earth to promise never to harm her nervy son.

The rest of the gods passed the time – it was a tough gig back then – throwing stuff at Baldr to show how hard he now was.

But, just like in an episode of The Only Way is Viking, troublemaking Asgard traitor, Loki (again, watch the film) twigged that mistletoe hadn’t got the message about not harming Baldr.

So, Loki tricked the blind god Höðr – who was also Baldr’s brother (you couldn’t make this stuff up) - into launching an arrow/spear/something sharp made of mistletoe at the posturing Baldr, who died instantly.

Naturally, Frigg was distraught, so much so that her tears turned into the white berries we now see on the non-mythological version of mistletoe.

From that day on, the plant would come to symbolise love, hence its status as a leafy licence for Christmas kissing*

In our view, Baldr should just have chilled out with a glass of Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin and stopped worrying so much.

We’d recommend that same course of action to all our followers, whether Norse gods or not. You can buy some here, or pick it up at your quality local retailer.

Loki? He should have been banged up years ago.

Mistletoe – it’s for Christmas kissing, not killing gods.

*Other versions of this story are available. Ours might not be completely accurate, given it’s based on mythology, not gin distilling.
Win a VIP Tour of Our New Kirkwall Visitor Centre

Win a VIP Tour of Our New Kirkwall Visitor Centre

The noble quest to complete the home of Kirkjuvagr Gin is almost at an end - you’ll have noticed all the scaffolding is down – and from April 2018 we’ll be welcoming local folk and visitors alike through our doors in Kirkwall.

Now we’re offering the opportunity to be amongst the first to behold our magnificent new visitor centre.

The runes tell us that a chosen one, along with a worthy companion, will receive a tour of our great halls, learn some of the wondrous secrets behind our legendary gin and, crucially, get the chance to drink some of it for free.

All you have to do is buy any bottle size of our award-winning Kirkjuvagr Gin, or its Storm Strength sister gin, Arkh-Angell, from one of Orkney’s fine local retailers, fill in a short prize draw form and drop it into our special Kirkjuvagr portal (it’s just a box, on the shop counter).

We’ll collect the entries up after Sat 18th March and randomly select a champion to be our honoured guest in April.

As heroic tasks go, this one’s a total breeze. No lengthy sea journeys or battles required, so there’s little chance of you inconveniently ending up in Valhalla. Nor do you need to consume hundreds of chocolate bars in the hope you’ll find a golden ticket. How ridiculous would that be?

No, the Vikings didn’t mess about, nor do we. Our competition is nice and simple and by taking part you’ll be supporting local shopkeepers.

And, if you’re fortunate enough to win, you’ll have something to look forward to during those dreary months leading up to April.

It’s also a good excuse to replenish your stocks of Kirkjuvagr or Arkh-Angell, should they be running low. Or, if you’ve never tried our gin – perish the thought – this is your opportunity to experience its fabled smoothness and uniquely Orcadian flavour for yourself.

Full details of the prize draw, including all terms and conditions are here (LINK)

May the gods smile upon you. *

 

*Gods are not permitted to enter this prize draw, though praying to them for help in this quest is acceptable.

 

Terms & Conditions

 

1) Purchase in-store of 70, 20 or 10cl Kirkjuvagr Gin or 70cl Arkh - Angell Gin.

2) Entrant must be over 18 years of age.

3) One entry per transaction by entry form in participating retailers only. 

4) This promotion closes on 18th March 2018 at 17.00 for receipt of all entries.The draw will be conducted randomly within 7 days of the closing date.

5) The Promoter or its agencies will not be responsible for the non-inclusion of entries or any claims as a result of being lost, late, illegible, incomplete, invalid.

6) PRIZE - One (1) winner will receive the prize. The prize comprises of a tour for two (over 18s only) of The Orkney Distillery Visitor Centre.

7) The prize must be claimed by May 1st 2018.

8) The prize is as stated and is non-transferable and non refundable. No cash or other alternative is available (in whole or in part), except that in the event of circumstances outside its control, the Promoter reserves the right to provide a similar prize of equal or greater value.

9) The winner will be notified by email or telephone, within 7 days of the closing date. If a winner does not respond within 7 days of first notification attempt, if any prize notification is returned as undeliverable, if the winner does not accept the prize or in the event of non-compliance with these prize draw Terms and Conditions, the Promoter reserves the right to withdraw prize entitlement and the prize will be forfeited and an alternative winner may be selected. Upon prize forfeiture, no compensation will be given. Full T&C’s can be found at www.orkneydistilling.com.

10) The Promoter reserves the right to amend, temporarily suspend or withdraw this promotion in its absolute discretion provided that the Promoter shall not exercise this right unreasonably.

11) The Promoter and their agents accept no responsibility for difficulties experienced in submitting an entry to this promotion.

12) By entering this competition you consent to Orkney Distilling Limited using your name in promotion of the competition after it closes.

13) Entrants are deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions by participating in this promotion.

14) This promotion and these terms are governed by Scottish law and subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts.

Double shortlisting for Orkney Distilling!

Double shortlisting for Orkney Distilling!

We are delighted to announce that Orkney Distilling Ltd has received two short-listings in the Scottish Rural Awards 2018!

The business is in the running for both the Artisan Drink and Business Start-Up awards.


The Scottish Rural Awards, that are now in their fourth year, celebrate the enterprise, innovation, dedication and community spirit of those who live in rural Scotland.


Partnered by Scottish Field and the Scottish Countryside Alliance, in association with the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), the awards are judged by an esteemed panel of industry leaders and experts. 


With thirteen different categories and a rigorous multi-stage process to decide shortlists and eventual winner, we're thrilled to have been placed on the two shortlists. 


The awards will be presented at a gala dinner in Edinburgh in March 2018.


Orkney Distilling’s Managing Director Stephen Kemp said: “We’re really delighted to learn we’ve been shortlisted in two categories for these major awards celebrating excellence in the rural community.  This has been quite a year for us already, with a double shortlisting and Bronze Medal from the inaugural Scottish Gin Awards.  Now, as we prepare to head into what will be an incredibly busy 2018 with our distillery and visitor centre opening, this is the festive icing on the cake.  We’ll be hoping to continue the successes of 2017 and again do the Orkney community proud.”