A New Ambassador

When we first began distilling our Isle of Harris Gin the goal was simply to produce a wonderful spirit from our little still, known affectionately as “The Dottach”. The diminutive copper apparatus was to take our nine expertly chosen botanicals and capture something of Harris’ maritime nature while it worked its magic in small and careful batches. We made a beautiful bottle to hold this inaugural spirit of ours and lined the distillery shop shelves with this first offering, sharing it with the guests and visitors who came through our doors.
 
These first customers became evangelical, spreading the good word of a new island gin to friends and family and sharing their love through social media. Soon orders were coming in from far and wide as our website shop allowed those who couldn’t make it to Tarbert to have a bottle of our gin delivered directly to their door. Before long our bottle began appearing on the gantries of fabulous bars and restaurants and demands were suddenly being made to supply our gin to shops the length and breadth of the country.
 
In the face of this unexpected (but perhaps unsurprising!) demand we decided to hold fast to our founding ideas, to nurture a sense of belonging between our island and our customers. At least at the outset, we want to ensure our spirits are created, bottled and sold from right here in Tarbert and nowhere else. But at the same time we realise we have an obligation to share our work with a wider world so it is important to us that people can experience our gin before deciding to buy a bottle from us to enjoy at home.
 
And so we’ve now appointed an ambassador to represent us far from our island shores, someone who can tell our story and share our spirit while we remain hard at work here in Harris. We’re delighted to welcome to our team Yvonne Murray, a talented and enthusiastic young woman, now tasked with meeting and speaking with customers and businesses across Scotland on our behalf. Whether introducing our gin to the uninitiated, taking tastings or exploring new ideas and possibilities, we’ve asked Yvonne to act as the crucial connection between our island and others as we go forward.
 
Yvonne was born and raised in Ness, not far to the north of us, in the Isle of Lewis, but like many islanders, after leaving home she’s lived a nomad’s life which has influenced her career and businesses she has run. She currently organises two wonderful festivals, Brew at the Bog, a music and beer festival in Inverness and NIP, Scotland’s foremost whisky and gin festival. Both are fine forums for food and drink which have championed the best of what the Highlands and Islands have to offer. It was at this year’s NIP festival we first met Yvonne and the relationship quickly blossomed.
 
“Harris Gin is my gin of choice. The packaging and the bottle make me feel very homesick.  It is reminiscent of a more innocent, easier way of life and I loved my first sip of home when I first tried it. I’m really looking forward to watching everything develop at the distillery - thank goodness there are visionaries in the world who can introduce and persevere with getting a project of this scale off the ground.”
 
We’re looking forward to seeing this sort of enthusiasm exemplified in her new role. Asked to expand on her responsibilities and plans she tells us…
 
“My role as Distillery Ambassador will be very varied - everything from looking after our current customers with staff training and events, to doing tastings for groups of gin lovers and novices alike.  But most importantly my role is about telling people about the distillery and the island. We want people to love the gin but we also want them to love Harris as much as we do.  We want them to know the heart and soul that goes into each bottle so that they savour each drop and taste the craftsmanship that's gone into every element.”
 
Yvonne’s strong background in media, events and management is sure to come in handy and it doesn't hurt either that she’s a Gaelic speaker also. As she gets busy getting into the swing of things, expect to see much more happening around the country as she takes our message in a bottle even further from our shores.

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