Dunnet Bay Distillery is run by husband-and-wife team, Martin and Claire Murray, who are passionate about creating spirits that showcase the provenance and heritage of the Highlands by featuring local, hand-foraged botanicals.
Their Rock Rose gin – which picked up the Gold Award for Best Gin at the first ever The Grocer Drink Awards last year – is, understandably, a popular choice of gin for many. Its pleasant flavour and gorgeous bottle make it a no-brainer. But what makes the Rock Rose story so special (aside from the local botanicals) is that the products are slowly distilled using a vapour infusion process, which is pretty rare.
Martin and Claire use a traditional copper pot (they call her Elizabeth) which is bespoke to Dunnet Bay, and which was created by the oldest still makers in the world. The Murrays are very much small-batch gin makers; as well as hand-distilling, each bottle is filled, hand-waxed, batch numbered and signed before it leaves the distillery.
Despite being just three years old the business is growing from strength to strength. Now in the sixth year of their business plan, the Murrays plan to increase their staff (the currently employ ten people), and turnover increased to over 300% in the second year alone. What’s more, Martin and Claire have just been granted planning permission to develop their storage area by four times its current size, as well as to build an on-site shop. However, perhaps such a vast expansion should come as no surprise for a distiller whose annual turnover is £1 million upwards.
Fans of Rock Rose gin can feel reassured that their favourite gin is here to stay – indeed, the limited edition for winter is available to buy now, either via the online shop or at prestigious department stores Fortnum & Mason and Harvey Nichols.