Linlithgow Distillery: thoroughly local gin

Konect Linlithgow July 2018

You know where your ingredients have come from when you’ve picked them from the hedgerows yourself. I’m talking to Linlithgow Distillery’s Alyson Jamieson at the micro distillery in Mill Road industrial estate. “We’re bringing distilling back to Linlithgow,” says Alyson. “We set the distillery up after selling our IT business and were looking for a new challenge that fitted in with our interests.”

Long-time whisky and bourbon lovers, Ross and Alyson had been finding gin was increasingly their preferred tipple (“Ross loves the whisky and I love distillery stories, every story is different”). Linlithgow Distillery is an artisan gin distillery producing their signature LinGin, and they have been on a steep learning curve since embarking on the project 18 months ago. They registered with the institute in January 2017, and celebrated bottling their 1000th bottle on 1st May 2018. It has been quite a journey, and one whose main focus has been on making this as Linlithgow-centric as possible.

In the best artisan gin tradition, botanicals are gathered from the wild locally. “We gather plants from around Linlithgow Loch, along the canal and Linlithgow Golf Club. I can’t tell you what our secret ingredients are, but I can tell you that we use meadowsweet from along the canal. A day’s foraging will last for 12 months worth of gin.” A panel of 100 local tasters was recruited to develop the first LinGin. “We spent a lot of time perfecting our recipe. We wanted LinGin to be something special. It’s a high quality artisan gin based on a London Dry Gin. We thought, ‘Let’s tackle the most difficult gin first, a London Dry, and if we can get that right we’ll have no problem with other types of gin!’”

Their automatic 100 litre still produces 60 bottles at a time, three batches per week. The automatic still is programmable, which means that every bottle is the same, and they’ve tested it to the perfect point where the botanicals have given up all of their flavour. It takes 10 – 14 days from ingredients going in to bottling. I was lucky enough to be there interviewing Alyson for this article as Ross was just setting up a new batch. The photo belowshows the botanicals about to be tipped into the still.

Photography by Images Above, Linlithgow

The special 1000th bottle of LinGin will be auctioned for charity. “We’re raising money for the charity “Pink Mackenzie” this year. Laura Mackenzie was the daughter of a friend, who passed away with lung cancer at the age of 24. The money we raise will be distributed amongst charities who helped her.”

It was a pleasure to visit Ross and Alyson and learn all about their project. I came away with a miniature bottle of LinGin. I drank it neat, at room temperature – just my preference, but I can vouch for its fantastic flavours!

Their challenge just now is keeping up with demand! LinGin has proved very popular and is selling fast in local bars. You can also buy it at stockists in Linlithgow: Taste Deli Cafe, Champany Inn, Mannerstons Farm Shop & Cafe. Bathgate: David Stein Butchers. South Queensferry: Hopetoun Farm Shop, Craigie's Farm Shop and Cafe. Falkirk: Johnston's Bar – Bistro. Fife: Reuben's Bistro & Winestore, Ellies Cellar shops

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