A time to reflect - part one
This week we sit down with Michael, the Isle of Barra Distillers Managing Director to see what his take on the first few months has meant to him and what might be instore for the future.
‘Where to start? Is the first thing that comes into my head. It really has been an amazing beginning for everyone connected to the Isle of Barra Distillers. When dreaming about this many moons ago we really didn’t expect how busy it would be here and things have really taken off for us. So, every day we are adjusting to the demand we are seeing from both online and across the UK for our gin. It's so important for me that we make that connection with all of our customers. Some customers may have never even heard of the Isle of Barra never mind our gin so to be able to have the opportunity to introduce the Isle of Barra to new people is very special to me.
So much has happened since the 14th of August. We have been involved in London Fashion week by working with the amazing Holly Fulton, been shown in magazine publications such as Vogue and GQ, having our gin stocked by more than 120 establishments in only five months, the list really goes on but for me personally seeing the Barra gin come to life and see so many people enjoying it and learning about both the Isle of Barra distillers and of course the Island itself.
It has been well talked about that our gin is distilled and bottled in London and this is something that we are proud of and are far from ashamed of. Our business model is slightly different to others as we simply do not have the financial resources that other companies, brands and distillers have so by using this business model we can be sure to grow at a pace that ensures we can secure our long-term goal of bringing full production to the Island. We launched last august and since then we have grown as carefully and made sure we put down the right foundations for going forward. This has been difficult at times as the demand just keeps growing. We have had an amazing response to our gin and our overall vision for the company.
What can we say about the team behind the Isle of Barra Distillers, they have been amazing and really without them everything would simply grind to a halt. We currently employ four people, who incidentally are locals to the island. This is another very important aspect of what we are trying to do here. It is a fundamental value of ours to give something back to the Island and by creating jobs we are doing exactly that.
The big question we always get asked is ‘when will the Barra gin be made on Barra’. Well We initially hoped that by mid-2020 we would be close to bringing full production back to the Island however this is now looking more like early/mid 2019 and if we are honest it really could be sooner but let’s not get carried away! We need to continue this amazing start that we have had and continue to work hard and push ourselves on.
All of the above would simply not be possible without two things, (1) the absolutely unbelievable support and response we have had from the public and (2) our links with London and if for the time being having our gin distilled in London helps up create jobs, increase interest in the Island, promote the Outer Hebrides and ultimately enable us to bring full production to the Island, well we are all for it.
We have had an amazing show of support for what we are trying to achieve here, and we simply cannot thank everyone enough for that support.