5 Minutes with Crafty Distillery
PUTTING THE GRAFT IN CRAFT WITH CRAFTY DISTILLERY
Founded in 2017 by owner Graham Taylor, Crafty Distillery has earned a reputation for delivering big on quality & taste. Their distillery was built to craft products that celebrate the region and live up to Scotland’s innovative spirit, which is why their ‘lightning bolt’ logo stands for their inspiration and is shaped like a map of Scotland. Current holder of the ’Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year’ from the Scottish Gin Awards 2020, there is no sign of them slowing down, as this year marks the beginning of their exciting new Single Malt Scotch Whisky journey.
The distillery itself holds a huge appeal for visitors, and is consistently rated as a 5 star venue and experience. Built by the founders father Billy in 2017, it utilises a very simple and modern design. Clad in local Larch wood from the forest and featuring an impressive 5 metre long tree bar, the large glass areas reward you with stunning views to the Galloway Hills.
Nestled on the edge of Newton Stewart, their distillery also offers up two highly commended tours to choose from.
Tour & Taste – learn how they make their multi-award winning Hills & Harbour Gin and other spirits. You’ll also get to see their new whisky stills and hear all about their plans. The tour finishes with 3x tasty perfect serves of their spirits. You can sit back and enjoy the drinks and views in their tasting room or covered outside seating area. They have a well stocked shop if you simply wish to pop in for a bottle or some other local food and drink products.
Gin Escape – a unique day out with one of their team, you get to help them forage for two botanicals that make their Hills & Harbour Gin. You’ll take a stroll into the Galloway forest park to hand pick some Noble Fire needles and visit a stunning beach to harvest some Bladderwrack Seaweed. You end the half day experience with a tour of the distillery, some cocktail making made with the day’s foraged botanicals and then enjoy some tasty local produce.
What inspired you to begin making Hills & Harbour Gin?
I’ve always been a fan of great quality spirits, so one day I started looking into the possibility of building and distillery in my home region of Galloway, and fast forward 4 years we started production in 2017! The inspiration for all our spirts is taking the quality and taste to another level. We are only of only a handful that craft our own base spirit, which is costly but really lives up to the craft promise. Our Hills & Harbour
Gin is a walking, talking and tasting reflection of our region. Inspired buy our forests and coastline we took Noble Fir needles from the forests and Bladderwrack seaweed from the coast. Not only two these tell the story of our region but they add a fantastic amount of flavour to our gin.
What do you love about gin?
As we begin at the very start of the process with the grain, that transformative interaction with the raw materials all the way through to the first pure alcohol coming off the still never gets old! 🙂 The other side of course is creativity. Gin production, (once you have added the core botanicals) has such an endless array of possibilities, which is was why it took us 2 years to really play and ultimately refine our Hills & Harbour recipe to ensure it had the right level of taste and balance that anyone can enjoy. This was crucial in our approach, and one of the hardest things to uncover.
Can you tell us about your distillation process, botanical make-up and tasting notes?
As we go the rare extra mile to add our own alcohol to the process we must first make our NGS (neutral grain spirit). We use local wheat, which we mill, mash (to release the sugars), ferment, distill to remove the alcohol, then redistill on a column still to create our pure NGS or vodka if you like. We then charge the still with the right amount of alcohol and then add some botanical overnight for maceration, then the rest the following morning. We then distill and only take the best hearts cut for our gin, this is then cut back to 40% ABV with local soft water and we bottle.
Botanicals: JUNIPER, CORIANDER, ORRIS, ORANGE PEEL, ANGELICA, LIQUORICE ROOT, BAYLEAF, MANGO, NOBLE FIR NEEDLES, BLADDERWRACK SEAWEED & GREEN SICHUAN PEPPER
What is your perfect serve?
A simple G&T
Pour a 50ml measure of Hills & Harbour Gin over plenty of ice in a rocks or highball glass, add some good tonic and a slice of fresh mango to garnish.
For a cocktail, try The Galloway Forager
Add 50ml of Hills & Harbour Gin, 25ml of Elderflower Cordial and a dash of Grapefruit Oleo (made with molasses sugar) to an ice filled shaker. Add a sprig of Noble Fir and shake.
Strain into a glass over ice and top with soda. Garnish with a sprig of Noble Fir and a slice of grapefruit.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Winning ‘Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year’ in 2020
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
I guess competing in a market place where every brand claims craft, when I reality there are few true craft brands that go the extra mile to create products that really live up to the promise of ‘craft’. Which is hard work, knowledge, care, consistency, innovation which add up to big value.
What do you think your unique selling points are in three words?
Tasty Innovative Crafty
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Do you. Form your own opinions and don’t follow the trend. Only then will you create something that stands out for the right reasons.
Finally, what does the future hold for Crafty Distillery?
We are due to launch our new unique bottle very soon, plus we will be launching a new product soon and are in the progress of developing our Single Malt Scotch Whisky so keep an eye out!