Growing up on a farming estate deep in Scotland’s Highlands was a privilege and I feel very lucky to be based in a country that has such a worldwide reputation for its Scotch whisky and Highland distilleries.
Iain Stirling reflects on the perfect nature of the estate. Growing up on a farming estate deep in Scotland’s Highlands was a privilege and I feel very lucky to be based in a country that has such a worldwide reputation for its Scotch whisky and Highland distilleries.
It really is the best backdrop for our own distillery.
The site itself, couldn’t be more perfect. In one direction is Lunan Bay and the sea; in the other are our fields of wheat, barley and potato crops. Beneath the soil is a sunken lake providing fresh water.
All three of us stood on the site for the new distillery and knew this was the spot!
The estate has been part of the family farming business for four generations. We all respect what can be achieved over time – and with ambition. The land is important to us, as is the whole notion of legacy. Capitalising on the natural advantages of the land in a sustainable way with the new distillery is, therefore, part of our generation’s legacy to the next.
Iain Stirling on creating a brand
While we are starting small, we are also starting out with the ambition. And one of the biggest challenges for us has been how to create a brand that would appeal to discerning whisky, vodka and gin drinkers.
In many ways we always knew we could produce a spirit of exceptional quality, because we have the advantage of Scotland’s natural environment. However, a ‘brand’ is another thing altogether.
And when the product is ‘yours’ – emotionally as well as commercially – the challenge is much, much greater.
We have had to set standards for the product, agree an overarching brand and individual brands. Along the way there is a myriad of choices or routes to go down. There was a huge debate about the shape of the bottle, the capsules and labeling, as well as what the brand looked like, what it stands for and its tone.
As we launch, however, we couldn’t be more pleased or more proud of what has been achieved. We all feel that the spirit has the quality that its provenance demands and the brand reflects us as a family and our values for the best.
The reaction we have had has been extremely positive and that is fantastic reward for the hard work. We are confident that super premium Arbikie vodka will make the perfect vodka gift and that our whisky an exceptional ‘money can’t buy’ present. As we hoped, the taste of our spirits and brand will resonate with discerning drinkers.
Iain Stirling on the benefits of being part of a family business
In many ways, because we are a family business this has been an easier process for us than for others. We have always shared a single vision and our goals are closely linked to the legacy we want to leave to the next generation.
We have also always had the constant support and encouragement of our parents. They are both exceptional business people and the wisdom they have brought to the process has been invaluable.
The launch of Arbikie Distillery and the creation of a distilling business on the estate has happened because of their foresight, their patience and their experience. To show our appreciation, the two copper pot stills are named in their honour, Ack and Jan.