IAIN STIRLING: LIGHT BULB MOMENT
Iain Stirling, Commercial Director, and one of the brothers who has founded and manages Arbikie Highland Estate shares with us his Arbikie story.
Iain Stirling remembers how the idea to build a distillery came about.
I’m sure if you asked each one of us separately, how the distillery came about, we’d all have a different answer. For me, though, it was both natural evolution and a ‘light bulb’ moment.
I’d been working in brands business and was involved in a number of drinks projects for organisations at the luxury end of the market. Then a friend started to talk to us about how to create a new gin. As the conversations developed, we talked about where to get the raw ingredients and about building a distillery.
That’s when the light bulb moment hit. This was something we could do.
Having grown up on the farm, the connection with the land, the estate and the farming business never leaves you. The thought of building a distillery at Arbikie made absolute sense. We grow the right crops, and its location is perfect.
For me, too, having been encouraged to leave home to discover something of the world and acquire different skills, the drinks industry was something I knew. It was two passions coming together.
Nor was doing something different on the farm anything new. The family has always looked to be entrepreneurial as a farming business and we had recently created a very successful vacuum packed, hand-prepared vegetable business for the high end of the market. So a new business was seized with typical ‘stirling’ determination and a sense of excitement.
Not surprisingly, once the decision had been made to build and operate our own distillery, the plans got bigger and bigger. We consulted experts on how to distill whisky and bought in people who shared our vision. The advantage of being a family business is that we only have ourselves to answer to. As a family, we can challenge conventions as the risk is ours and do things that others can’t in order to achieve something we can all be proud of.
It’s been incredibly exciting. Hard work, at times a bit scary, but always exhilarating.
Read more about the Distillery here.
Why not try Arbikie yourself? Buy here.