Our journey so far…
2018 – The Orkney Distillery & Visitor Centre opens
After two years of planning and construction, The Orkney Distillery & Visitor Centre opened its doors to the public in July 2018.
Situated on Kirkwall’s historic harbour-front, it became the ideal attraction for gin enthusiasts looking for a quality visitor experience in the heart of Orkney’s main town.
Standing two stories high, the building was finished to an extremely high standard, incorporating a gin and coffee bar, retail outlet, and spacious events venue.
Within its first year, our distillery received five-star accreditation from VisitScotland, and was dubbed “The Scottish Gin Destination of the Year.” Since then, the momentum behind the progression of The Orkney Distillery has not abated.
2019 - Raising a glass to stronger ties between Orkney and Japan
Since opening, The Orkney Distillery & Visitor Centre has hosted a range of amazing events, including the inauguration of the Orkney Japan Association.
Held in our events space with views over Kirkwall Bay, we were joined by a wide range of local people with an interest in the Association as well as some very special guests.
We believe this event signified a major progression of Orkney’s already strong relationship with Japan, and we hope to nurture this bond by hosting more OJA events in the future!
2020 – Oot The Back launch
In July 2020, we transformed and expanded our offering, converting what was once our customer car park into a covered garden bar experience — Oot The Back — situated right in the heart of Kirkwall.
Equipped with individually heated booths that provide a safe space to enjoy light snacks and drinks with family and friends, Oot The Back is a unique space to Orkney offering a wide range of quirky cocktails; locally produced beers and spirits and the occasional pop-up foodie event where we team up with local producers throughout the year.
2021 – New bottle launch
Working in partnership with Stoelzle Flaconnage – who are an industry leader in bespoke premier spirits packaging solutions – we launched the bespoke new packaging for our award-winning Kirkjuvagr Gin range.
With a bold and eye-catching design, the bottle features several nods to 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.
Further, 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!
2022 – Aurora wins gold at Scottish Gin Awards
In November 2022, we were delighted to announce that Aurora, our Winter Edition Spiced Orkney Gin, won gold for ‘Best Festive Gin’ at the Scottish Gin Awards. Created and operated by Edinburgh-based events company KDMedia, the Scottish Gin Awards celebrates innovation and excellence in gin distilling in Scotland and showcases Scotland’s wide range of high-quality gins.
The independent competition is judged by a panel of experts drawn from across the sector, bringing together industry experience and market knowledge to recognise the greatest achievements in the Scottish gin industry.
2023 - Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards
Every year, Tripadvisor celebrates attractions that consistently deliver amazing experiences with a Travellers' Choice Award and, thanks to your positive reviews and feedback from your visits to the distillery over the last year, we’ve made the list once again!
A big thank you for your constant support and visits to the home of Kirkjuvagr Gin – we hope to welcome lots more visitors, as well as returning customers in the months to come!