Distilling generations of farming
- Louise Gray
- 30 June 2017
How the Stirlings of Arbikie are turning their land into gin
When the Stirling family set out to make gin, they wanted to distill their love for a very special place. The gin grains are grown on the family farm at Arbikie, north of Arbroath, the water is sourced from an underground lagoon and, most importantly, the botanicals used to flavour the alcohol are inspired by the natural environment.
Where the distillery full of copper stills now sits used to be a cowshed at the centre of the busy farm, perched on the cliffs above the North Sea.
The Stirling family has been farming at Arbikie for four generations and it was only natural to name the brand after the farm. One of the flavours, AK, made from wheat grown on the farm and flavoured with homegrown honey, black pepper mace and cardamon, is named after AK Stirling, the father of David, Iain and John, and of the brand.
The first single-estate gin in Scotland, Kirsty's Gin, is named after master distiller Kirsty Black. It is flavoured with kelp, carline thistle and blaeberry to represent the ocean, rock and land surrounding the farm.
For Iain Stirling every flavour brings something of the family farm to life. 'This place has all the ingredients required,' he says.