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Dunnet Bay toasting success after Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year triumph


By Gordon Calder


Martin and Claire Murray with the Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year award, which was presented by Christie Clinton of Aldi.
Martin and Claire Murray with the Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year award, which was presented by Christie Clinton of Aldi.

A CAITHNESS business toasted its success after being named the Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year.

Dunnet Bay Distillers won the prestigious award at a ceremony attended by almost 600 guests in Glasgow on Thursday night.

The firm, which was started just five years ago, also collected a gold award for its Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin Winter Edition and a silver award for Rock Rose Old Tom Pink Grapefruit.

Claire Murray, who started the enterprise with husband Martin, said: "We are just delighted to win Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year. It is a real achievement and testament to all the hard work that our fabulous wee team put in.

"Over 170 gins entered the awards, so to make it through to the finals alone is fab. It's great to see a strong Caithness representation with Ice and Fire also reaching the final stages.

"We’re really lucky to have such brilliant local support, and we have Caithness exiles shouting about us everywhere – it is amazing to be bringing this award back home to Caithness."

Dunnet Bay Distillers, which has seen huge growth for its Rock Rose gins worldwide, was praised for its commitment to sustainable business practices, community engagement and investment in people as a key employer in the area.

The winners were announced after a rigorous judging process which involved 30 leading experts from across the UK, the assessment of 104 written entries and the blind tasting of 173 gins, all distilled in Scotland. The top award went to the Caithness firm.

We’re really lucky to have such brilliant local support – it is amazing to be bringing this award back home to Caithness.

The chairman of the judging panel, Alex Bruce, congratulated all the Scottish distilleries and supporting businesses that were successful.

He said: "Winning a Scottish Gin Awards medal is a significant achievement and provides a huge opportunity to promote Scottish gin both at home and abroad. I hope that tonight’s winners will take the opportunity to promote their successes in what was the largest and toughest competition to date.

"Such is global demand in the gin category, we have increasing competition. But right across the food and drink industry, Scotland enjoys an enviable reputation for quality, innovation and endeavour, so let’s continue to work for, and with, that well-deserved reputation."

The Orkney Distillery received a silver medal for its high strength gin, Kirkjuvagr Arkh-Angell.

The competition – now in its third year – conducted a Scotland-wide search for the best gins and gin businesses. One hundred and seventeen gins made it to the finals.

The awards raise funds for two nominated charities – The BEN, the Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland, and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, set up by rugby legend Doddie Weir to help improve the lives of those affected by motor neurone disease.

Martin and Claire Murray receiving the Distilled Gin of the Year award from Ron Young of Contract Bottlers Glasgow.
Martin and Claire Murray receiving the Distilled Gin of the Year award from Ron Young of Contract Bottlers Glasgow.

Dunnet Bay Distillers has won a number of awards in the past five years.

A year after setting up the firm took the award for the best new business at the Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards.

The same year Dunnet Bay Distillers featured among the prize-winners at the Great Taste Awards and the Global Gin Masters, while Rock Rose was chosen as the best new launch design at the World Gin Awards.

In 2016, the company won the new product category at the Highlands and Islands Food and Drinks awards for its Holy Grass vodka.



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