New Distillery & Visitor Centre Opens in Kirkwall

New Distillery & Visitor Centre Opens in Kirkwall

Our new artisan distillery and visitor centre officially opens in Kirkwall this week, creating a major new tourist attraction for the islands.

Two years in the planning, the new facility - which has created six local jobs - represents the realisation of our dream.  

Sited on Kirkwall’s historic harbour front, the two-storey distillery and visitor centre has been finished to an extremely high standard, incorporating a gin and coffee bar, retail outlet and events venue. Visitors are also able to tour the production area of the facility to learn more about the distillation process, and the stories behind our gins.

Our signature gin Kirkjuvagr was only launched in August of 2016 but has firmly established itself in the hugely competitive gin marketplace, winning praise from critics and a bronze medal at the inaugural Scottish Gin Awards in 2017.

Inside the Orkney Distillery Coffee & Gin BarWe’re incredibly proud of our new home and can’t wait to share it with the local community, and the many visitors who come to Orkney each year. From the outset it was our intention to create a place where people could relax and enjoy a drink in comfortable surroundings, while learning more about our gins and, indeed, Orkney. We also felt, given the very welcome rise in visitor numbers to Orkney, that there was a need for a new, high quality tourist attraction in the town. Hopefully we’ve filled that gap with a project that does the islands proud. Although our gin branding very much reflects the Norse heritage of Orkney, we’ve created a contemporary atmosphere within the distillery and visitor centre. That merging of the old and new, blending tradition and innovation, is unmistakably Orcadian in its approach, and something we’ve strived for with our gins too. Everyone involved in the project has worked extremely hard to bring it to fruition. Crucially, all of our branding and marketing has been delivered by a local team, and we’ve employed skilled local people to build the distillery and visitor centre, and manage its journey towards opening. We’ve also got a great group of local people on board to deliver the very best service to customers and, of course, produce our gins.

The new Orkney Distilling Distillery and Visitor Centre is now open for business, with the Distillery Bar opening to the public for the first time this weekend.

You can check availability and Book a Tour online, direct from our website.

Other articles:

Meet the Team: Stephen & Aly Kemp

Meet the Team: Stephen & Aly Kemp

Our Directors Stephen & Aly Kemp are kicking off our new blog series by letting us find out more about the pair and their Kirkjuvagr Gin journey.

What made you decide to start your own gin company?

 We’d been travelling to various events and weddings quite a lot in 2015, and new and interesting craft gins were appearing all around the country.  At that time, a strongly branded gin was notably absent in Orkney, so we set about developing a new gin brand that was unmistakably Orcadian.

 

What has been your biggest highlight in business since starting your company?

Opening the Orkney Distillery was a massive achievement for us, as we’d wanted from the outset to create a flagship home for Kirkjuvagr, and it took a lot of work in a short time to get there within two years of launching our first gin!

Opening our more recent ‘garden bar’ called Oot the Back was also thrilling last year, as we emerged from Lockdown.  The Team all put in such an effort to create a truly unique and amazing offering, and we’re really proud of the result!

 

What is your favourite gin from the Kirkjuvagr range?

 Aly: Beyla. For me, this is probably the one that I influenced the most, and I absolutely love the soft pink colour tone!

Stephen:  I can’t say I have a specific favourite, as I like them all, and I find that tastes can change depending on the weather, your surroundings, mood, etc etc! Right now though, I’m really enjoying our Northwest Passage Expedition Gin. It’s been great to have an opportunity to support the Expedition, and our local friend Davie Flett (who’s one of the rowers) and I went to Birsay and harvested sugar kelp that we used as a botanical, so tasting the result really is very satisfying.

Double success for Orkney Distilling

Double success for Orkney Distilling

We’ve tasted double success at Orkney Distilling recently as both the World Gin Awards and London Spirits Competition announced the award winners for their respective 2021 events.

Beyla – which is created by adding Orcadian honey and Scottish raspberries to Orkney Distilling’s legendary Kirkjuvagr Gin – earned a silver award in the Old Tom Gin category at the 2021 World Gin Awards.

The World Gin Awards commend the best gins in the world, with entries from across the globe tasted by an expert judging panel to decide the world’s best.

The 2021 event received a record-breaking number of entries, with organisers confirming more than 800 gins had been submitted.

The silver award is the third award Beyla has won since it was introduced into our range in 2019, following on from a bronze award in the 2020 World Gin Awards and winning the new product award at the 2019 Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards.

Elsewhere, our original Kirkjuvagr gin picked up a silver medal in the 2021 London Spirits Competition.

Where other competitions focus solely on technical competence and distilling prowess, the London Spirits Competitions goes further to evaluate a spirit for its all-around excellence - the way it tastes, looks and the value it provides.

The London Spirit Competition medal is the latest recognition for our signature gin, having previously been successful at the Scottish Gin Awards, World Gin Awards and the Great Taste food and drink awards.

Speaking after the list of winners was revealed, our Events & Marketing Manager, Anna Younie, was proud to see Kirkjuvagr recognised alongside the world’s biggest gin brands:

It's always really exciting to hear of our gins receiving awards! It really is so rewarding to know our hard work as a small, craft distillery is recognised amongst names of some bigger, more well-known brands, and it pushes us to continue to produce quality products that are well received not just by judges at competitions like these, but by our valued customers too!

To celebrate our success, both Beyla and the original Kirkjuvagr have 15% off from now until Monday. So why not head over to our shop now – the discount will be automatically applied at the checkout!
A greener future for gin production

A greener future for gin production

We’re moving towards a greener future, thanks to a new joint project with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) investigating hydrogen heating as a clean fuel solution in the distilling process. 

Orcadians have been at the forefront of energy innovation now for generations, and we are extremely pleased to be a part of this collaboration, which will serve to strengthen connections between EMEC’s ground-breaking green hydrogen development and the local distillery sector. 

The project known as HySpirits 2 has received £58,781 of funding from the UK Government’s Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to produce a feasibility study, looking at technologies that would enable us to use hydrogen as a fuel source in the distillery. 

The partnership includes Edinburgh Napier University, with their industrial decarbonisation team leading the pilot study design and hydrogen technology assessments. Technologies being looked at include thermal fluid technology, steam technology, direct burn technology and dual fuel technology. Following assessment, the optimal technology pathway will be chosen and used to design a demonstration project to be considered for Phase 2 funding to use the solution in a real-world context. 

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: 

“Building back greener from the pandemic is something we can all raise a toast to. Every business can play a part in the green industrial revolution and this funding will allow UK distilleries to lead the way by making their production cleaner while also creating jobs.” 

James Walker, Hydrogen Manager at EMEC, said: 

“Hydrogen offers a potentially very compelling alternative fuel for producing high grade heat in industry. With many distilleries located in remote areas off the natural gas network and using fuel oils to generate process heat for malting and distilling, there is great scope for applying the findings from our project to a cross section of the wider industry. 

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 brings together a partnership which will focus on assessing a range of viable technology options that give the greatest emissions reductions for distillers. Ensuring commercial viability through to a fully sustainable end product will lay the path towards the future of green distilling.” 

Cocktail Recipe - Clementine & Thyme Fizz

Cocktail Recipe - Clementine & Thyme Fizz

Aurora Gin, 42% ABV, gets its warmth from cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and a touch of heat from pink and black peppercorns. It works well with so many winter flavours.

Ingredients

  • 50ml Aurora Gin
  • 15ml Fresh lemon juice
  • 40ml Fresh Clementine juice
  • 20ml Thyme syrup (see recipe above)
  • Egg white
  • Soda
  • Thyme sprig

Method

Combine all ingredients but soda in a cocktail shaker WITHOUT ice. Dry shake for a good while before adding ice and shaking again. Strain into an ice-filled highball and gently top up with soda. Let the foam set before garnishing with a thyme sprig.


Huge thanks to On the sauce again for the recipe and images!

Celebrating World Bee Day with Beyla

Celebrating World Bee Day with Beyla

Wednesday the 20th of May is world Bee Day! Though you may not know it, bees play an important role here at The Orkney Distillery.

In Norse mythology, Beyla was the goddess of bees and fertility, with a strong connection to the earth.

At Orkney Distilling, we share her bond with the land, handcrafting our gin with precision and care, where the influence of the Norse gods can still be felt.

We’ve added Orcadian honey to our legendary Kirkjuvagr Gin to create this special offering to the goddess. Fresh Scottish raspberries bring extra fruitiness and colour, while balancing a natural sweetness introduced by our island honey. The bees providing this premium quality ingredient actually fly a path taking them across our botanical crops that are grown and harvested from our local Agronomy Institute - thus deepening the significance of our special homage to Beyla.  

World Bee Day allows us to acknowledge the vital role that bees and other pollinators play in our ecosystem as well as focusing on the importance of preserving them. And, with every third spoonful of the world’s food relying on bees and various other pollinators, it seems only right that we are able to recognise this day and help celebrate it with this bespoke spirit.

Join us in celebrating World Bee Day with a refreshing glass of Beyla! Click here to buy now.

Cheers!

 

 

Beyla up for top industry award

Beyla up for top industry award

In these surreal and somewhat unsettling times, it’s nice to have some positive news to share with you.  Our Honey and Raspberry Kirkjuvagr Beyla Gin has been shortlisted for this year’s Gin Guide Awards in the Best Flavoured Gin category! These prestigious awards celebrate the world’s finest gins and so we are thrilled that one of our products has once again been selected as one of the finalists.

Beyla is named after the Norse goddess of bees and infuses Orcadian honey and Scottish raspberries with our legendary Kirkjuvagr Gin. Bursting with fruitiness and balanced with the sweetness of our island honey, it makes for the perfect summer tipple.

Let us bring a taste of summer to your living rooms and gardens with this refreshing spirit. Ideal served with lots of ice, fresh raspberries and topped with tonic or a premium lemonade. Order your bottle now with free delivery, and 10% off if you’ve not ordered from us before, by subscribing to our mailing list!