The Isle of Harris Distillery won the biggest award of the night at the Scottish Gin Awards in Glasgow last night (Thursday September 20th).
The ultimate award, Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, was presented to Isle of Harris Distillers, whose mission to create a “social distillery” bringing jobs and increasing tourism to the island was praised.
The Hebridean distillery fought off competition from four other distilleries to win the award.
Six members of the Tarbert team attended the glamorous ceremony in Glasgow while, back at home, other staff dined out at North Harbour Bistro in Scalpay and greeted the news of their win with delight.
Award sponsors the Scottish Gin Society said: “The big one!!! So happy for Isle of Harris Distillers as they win distillery of the year – sponsored by us – amazing Scottish Gin distillery.”
The award was a genuine triumph for the community of Harris, who’ve had a tough week and were ready for something to celebrate.
The distillery welcomed congratulations from other islanders like Kilda Cruises, who tweeted: “Not surprised by the award of Gin Distillery of the Year, but delighted for you all!”
A spokeperson for the distillery said: “Our sincere thanks to all our customers and followers for their continued enthusiasm, not just for our spirit but for the wider ambitions of our project.
"Our thanks also to the dedicated, hardworking team in Tarbert and our wider distillery family for whom this work is much more than just a way to make a living.
“Finally, our thanks to our fellow islanders for all their support, we're incredibly proud to be putting the Isle of Harris on the distilling map. Slàinte mhòr!”
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Leader, Roddie Mackay, congratulated the distillery: “On behalf of the Comhairle, I would like to sincerely congratulate the Harris Distillery on this prestigious award.
“The Outer Hebrides offer the visitor stunning scenery, rich archaeological and cultural treasures and a magical Hebridean ambience. Fantastic natural produce from land and sea, are among the many ingredients that make the Outer Hebrides a must-see destination.
“It is excellent to see local businesses doing so well and having their work recognised at national level. The Comhairle is committed to continuing to work closely with local partners and businesses in order to build on this success.”
Picture shows the Harris distillery team taking possession of their award last night