Our distillery is located at the northern end of Unst, the most northerly inhabited island in the UK, only accessible from the Shetland mainland by two ferry journeys, via the island of Yell. It is closer to Norway in distance and in culture than it is to much of Scotland.
The Shetland Distillery Company was created by four people sharing a passion for producing top quality products in local communities.
Over the past 8 years, Frank and Debbie Strang have regenerated the former RAF site at Saxa Vord, Unst into an award-winning tourist resort with year round self-catering accommodation, seasonal hostel and bar/restaurant.
The Malt Whisky Company owned and run by Stuart and Wilma Nickerson is in the process of releasing its own range of independently bottles single malt Scotch whiskies and with over 30 years experience of managing distilleries, Stuart also works as a consultant in the industry.
There is a shared desire to build not only the most northerly Scotch whisky distillery and the most northern gin distillery in the UK but to also create the finest expressions of these two products, in the distillery on Unst.
The size of our still means that we will be one of the smallest commercial gin distilleries. Our small batch production was in limited supply and initially only available within Shetland. However our plans have grown and the word has spread so our gin is now stocked in a large number of national and international locations.
We have developed the recipe, producing small scale batches and testing them on some very willing volunteers. The result is an excellent traditional-style gin with a unique Shetland twist provided by the inclusion of apple mint, which is grown and harvested by Unst Market Growers.
The first commercial distillation of gin in Shetland was run in September 2014 producing our first 500 limited edition bottles which are in Shetland tweed bags and marked L001/14.
As we have grown, so has our distillery. We welcome visitors who can now experience Shetland Reel Gin from the comfort of our specially designed tasting room.
We are holding guided tastings from April to September, one per day on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 12 noon. For a mere £10 you get a tasting session with our product experts and a discount voucher for on site purchases.
Booking is by appointment only in advance so if you'd like to come along and see us, please give us a call on 01957 711 217. We'd love to see you!
Our Plans for 2018 and Beyond
We will be continuing to develop both our whisky and gin production as well as creating new products for you to enjoy. We really hope you are tempted to try our gin and if so you can buy some direct from our online shop. To keep up to date with all our latest news including recipes, new products and stockists, join us on Facebook or sign up to the mailing list!