Mark Turnbull

Mark is the Manager/Distiller and works full-time in the business.  He is based in the distillery in Unst, Shetland. Mark is responsible for the day to day running of the distillery, he carries out all the distillations in Elsi our still, named after his daughter. He can often be seen delivering gin to the local shops or at events throughout Shetland.  Mark served in the Army for 24 years which has helped him immensely with the administration, the mountains of paperwork, record keeping and meeting deadlines!

How did you get involved in the drinks industry?

Whilst employed as Manager of the Saxa Vord Resort which is owned by two of the Directors, it was decided to convert the former Supplies Depot building into the UK’s most northerly distillery.  At the time, we were distilling the first gin ‘Original’ and I was asked if I could manage the distillery as well as the Resort.  Once we started producing the Ocean Sent Gin it became too busy to manage both sites and I was asked to choose, it was a no-brainer to choose the distillery and is one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

What do you enjoy most about working for Shetland Distillery?

I love being part of a small team producing excellent products on the most northerly island in the United Kingdom. Going down to the shore with my son Alvi to harvest the bladderwrack seaweed for our award-winning Ocean Sent gin is particularly special.  Seeing our products on shelves or someone enjoying one of our gins gives me great satisfaction to know that all the hard work the team has put in has been worthwhile.

Where is your favourite place in Shetland to enjoy a gin?

At one of Unst’s Up Helly Aa nights, it’s dark and cold and you need something to warm you up whilst watching the parade. It is also nice to enjoy a gin in the distillery with the many people who visit for a tour each year, there’s nothing better than getting direct feedback.

What it is your signature cocktail?

For me it must be our Cask Aged Gin, Ocean Sent Gin rested in whisky and sherry casks. Just add ginger ale. 1-part gin to 3-parts ginger ale. Sorted. With ice and sliced strawberries if you prefer it indoors, in a glass.

What makes Shetland Reel special to you

Everything about it!


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