"Distilling to leave a legacy"
Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Ltd was established at Torrisdale Castle Estate on the Kintyre peninsula in 2016 by brothers Niall and Kenny Macalister Hall and Niall's wife Emma, where they have been producing their award-winning Kintyre Gin.
From the outset, sustainability and community have been central to how the distillery operates and they are a great example of how a business can focus on people, planet and profit.
Putting sustainability at the heart of distilling
To keep emissions and environmental impact as low as possible at the distillery, the team at Beinn an Tuirc have implemented a number of different measures and initiatives.
One of the most significant investments has been in their hydroelectric scheme which powers the gin still. The water comes from the eponymous hill Beinn an Tuirc which translates from Gaelic as "The Hill of the Wild Boar" and is the highest point in Kintyre, located above the distillery building.
It's a 100kW run of river scheme which means it collects water as the river flows, rather than there being a significant storage loch or lake upstream. It produces around 400,000 kwH or units of electricity per annum.
In the beginning, they exported all electricity produced to the National Grid. After they developed the gin distillery the following year, they are still able to export 90% of what they produce.
Distilling is an energy-intensive process, and producing their own electricity on-site is not only good for the environment, it protects them from rising energy markets which could otherwise render the business unsustainable.
Other responsible tourism measures at Beinn an Tuirc
Beinn an Tuirc Distillers has recently installed a 16kW solar array (collection of solar panels) on a building at the distillery. The power from the solar panels feeds into the cafe as well as two new eco-bothies which will be available for self-catering soon.
The organisation also has biomass (a renewable energy source, generated from burning wood and other organic matter) which serves Torrisdale Castle and two other properties. Having biomass as an energy source helps to heat the buildings whilst avoiding using gas, oil or electric.
Tree planting and apple brandy
Some of the other sustainability intiaitives the distillery has adopted includes regularly planting trees in their dedicated woodland area to offset carbon used in transportation and packaging and creating their own apple brandy made using their own home-grown apples where possible. Their apple brandy is a unique offering in Scotland and one the team hopes will become a visitor attraction in itself.