Social At Heart

The Isle of Harris Distillery is built for, and with, a purpose. We are a working distillery, the three copper stills in the Spirit Hall standing testament to this fact, with five local men tasked with creating and fine tuning the best of island spirits from simple barley and botanicals.
We do all this in heart of our island’s community, just yards from village life, so from the outset we decided to place importance on providing a warm welcome as well as the drams we make.
While we are not a visitor centre we do consider those who join us to be our guests, we’re always happy to share our story (and samples of our gin!) with anyone who asks. We hope that those who come through our doors feel we are a convivial place despite the pragmatics of the distilling work at hand.
We’re also endeavouring to extend our openness to out-of-hours occasions. Having set the ball rolling from the outset with a community ceilidh on our opening night, we plan to continue such matters with more wee events under our roof and around our fire. 

Last week we welcomed the Vikings of Southern Mainland Up Helly Aa, playing host to their happy horde as they drank our spirit, sang ancient songs and supped at our table. Their fiery torches lit the way around the streets of Tarbert before returning for an enjoyable gathering back at our own fire. It was a great day and night of festivities and reconnecting with Norse roots. 

And just last night we enjoyed a similar, if rather less raucous, gathering as we welcomed acclaimed author Peter May of ‘The Lewis Trilogy’ fame. His crime-thrilling novels have captured the imagination of readers far and wide and it was no surprise to have a full crowd in attendance to hear him talk about his new book The Coffin Road set here in Harris.  

A little story-telling and taking time to talk to each other around a blazing peat fire is such a simple thing but its power to bond and enlighten has served our island community well over the centuries.
With lights and flames burning well into the evening, we hope to keep our doors open longer and on many more occasions as we establish ourselves here in the heart of Harris. We are the Social Distillery and our island spirit demands we shall always strive to be such.


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