It’s been two years since Loch Ness Gin came into our drinks cabinets and as far as trends go – gin is here, and here to stay!
Off to a successful start, the business focused couple have their product across the Highlands and further afield. Launching in 2016, it wasn’t long before demand grew for the small batch gin. Tipples became available in local bars and restaurants and events were a sell out! Hosting three successful gin cruises with Loch Ness by Jacobite and appearing at local events such as Nesscon.
We were curious at just what makes the “Real and Rare” small batch gin so desirable? Aside from having sampled a fair few ourselves in the past, we wanted to know how it all started and where it’s going, so, we reached out to Lorien Cameron-Ross, founder of Loch Ness Gin alongside her husband Kevin, and asked her a few questions about Loch Ness Gin…
What was your inspiration to starting your own company?
This was multifactorial. We wanted to do something creative that used what we had around us. We wanted to produce something that we would feel proud of and create a company that would add value to local community. We wanted to work together on a project and be able to shape the work around raising our family.
What makes your Gin unique?
100 percent of the botanicals in the gin are picked within 500 metres of the house. We also use fresh water from our own private water supply here. It is distilled and bottled on site by us.
Your Gin bottles are very mysterious, is this a reflection to the Loch Ness Monster?
The colour reflects Loch Ness itself. It is a semi-translucent black colour which changes depending on the amount of liquid inside it and the light shining onto it. This is much like the loch. Having lived here all my life, I see the water changing colour depending on the season and the weather. It can be a sparkling blue, an ominous black and many different shades in between.
How many bottles of gins have you produced?
We only make 2000 bottles of this gin in a year. Due to all the botanicals being picked locally, we want to protect our environment and we limit the production to 4 batches of 500 bottles after each harvest. This makes our gin truly ‘Real & Rare’.
Did you expect your gin to take off as well as it has?
We got off to a great start when we were awarded gold and silver medals in the Global Gin Masters just before we launched in 2016. This gave us a real confidence when we launched. We knew we liked the gin but having independent professional spirits judges love it too was a great thing. We didn’t expect the sales to be so quick and each batch is hotly anticipated. In 2017, we were awarded Best Distilled Product in Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards. That was really unexpected. The gin market is a busy one, especially in Scotland, but we believe that so long as you add value to the category there will always be room for you.
What is your favourite part of the process to making your own gin?
I particularly enjoyed two parts. At the beginning, being out on the hill picking botanicals is a treat. To spend time outdoors in such a stunning landscape is a privilege I will never tire of. At the other end of the process, I have enjoyed meeting the customers and sharing the delights of how we make our gin and how they taste it. Meeting someone who wants to spend their hard-earned money on something that we have made, makes us feel very proud.
Do you plan to develop any other drinks?
We are on the verge of launching a new gin. This is a brand-new flavour profile with new botanicals and a new concept behind it which we be excited to share as soon as it is ready. The distillery has also been busy developing an absinthe and a vodka which are coming along nicely. One of the fun bits of the job is being able to create new products and share these with our customers.
Can we expect any game changers from Loch Ness gin in the future?
We like to think so! We are keeping a few exciting things under our hat at the moment and they will be shared as soon as they are ready for release.
What does Loch Ness mean to you?
My family has lived on the banks of Loch Ness for over 500 years and that has given me a sense of root in the area. Three generations of us still live here within a mile of each other. It has provided us with safe and beautiful homes to grow up and in turn raise our own children. I feel strongly that I have a responsibility to repay that by curating the land that we have for future generations.
You work alongside your husband – which one of you is the brains and which one of you is the creative mind behind your gin?
The split isn’t quite as straightforward as that. Working as a team means giving each other the space and support to be creative and we develop the brand together. What the customer sees is the very best our combined effort. Kevin would be the first to admit that I take care of the administration and I would say that he does the lion’s share of the distilling and practical tasks. However, we try to make sure that we can both understand all the tasks behind the business. Being married for nearly twenty years, means that he can quickly see when I am struggling with a situation and vice versa. Sometimes the other can step in and assist and other times we both scratch our heads and work on the problem together.
And just like that, we have ourselves an illusive product. Fancy a sample? We don’t blame you! You can purchase your bottles here - or why not hop aboard one of our cruises and enjoy a tipple from our bar. Because why wouldn’t you sail Loch Ness whilst drinking Loch Ness gin?!
Finally, we’ll say Slainte to Lorien and Kevin – we’re already excited to see what the next two years bring you!