Darnley’s Gin, owned by Fife’s Wemyss family, has come home to the Kingdom, as production moves from London to Kingsbarns.
The new distillery is installed in what was once a derelict farm cottage tucked away in the grounds of its sister Kingsbarns Whisky Distillery.
The refurbishment marks an investment for the business and will support Darnley’s Gin’s ambitious growth plans both at home and overseas, grabbing a share of the ever-expanding gin market and adding to Fife’s growing food and drink tourism sector.
Founder William Wemyss’ family links with Fife are well documented. And while Darnley’s may have started out in London, he feels that the shifting of production to Fife is very much a homecoming for the brand.
“For the last seven years it’s been made under contract in London,” he said. “But as the family are from Fife, we felt we felt we wanted to bring production back to Fife to have greater control over it.
“We had this derelict cottage here at Kingsbarns so we felt this was a natural home for a gin distillery and visitor centre experience.”
Visitor tours now offer guests an intriguing behind the scenes experience of the gin - its production, heritage, taste and the role that botanicals play in each of the three flavours currently on offer; Original, Spiced, and Spiced Navy Strength.
And soon they hope to offer visitors the option of distilling their own gin.
“We are looking at some micro-distillation options, but that’s very much stage two,” added William. “Right now we’re focusing on getting production back here to Darnley’s stil-house.
“The possibilities are endless, foraging for botanicals around here in Fife.
“We felt we’d seen the success of the single malt distillery and how visitors interacted there at the visitor centre and we felt that there was a real opportunity to do something in gin of a similar high quality where people could experience different gins, different botanical combinations, different mixes, different garnishes, for someone who just wants to try gin, or equally for someone who’s a totally passionate gin consumer. So hopefully there’s something here for everyone.”
And Darnley’s have also been named as a partner of the upcoming Ricoh Women’s Open at Kingsbarns, an event so close to the distillery that a stray shot could find its way to the roof of the cottage.
William added: “To celebrate the opening of the distillery, we are the official gin of the event, so we’re really excited to be associated with that.”
For distiller and gin ambassador Scott Gowans, the benefits of moving production to Fife are obvious: “We have the flexibility where we can have two different infusions in our distillation, which is really exciting for us.
“There’s growth in the craft market in just about every sector that we have, like food and drink.
“Gin’s one of those things that really can be changed, there’s different botanicals that can be used and different infusions.
“Not all distillers agree with which botanicals are best. The flexibility to be had is why it’s such a growing market. It’s not just your standard gin.”
As distiller and gin ambassador, Scott’s main tasks are to make gin and then share his passion and enthusiasm. Surely this is a dream job?
“It’s brilliant, it’s a great opportunity to come in at this stage and be able to help the Darnley’s brand, and a lot of my work has been on the production floor. But being the ambassador and being able to go out and see people, bring people into the market is really good fun. I’m looking forward to having lots of people in for the tour and sharing our knowledge.”
Tours will start on Sunday July 2, however there will be a free local open day on Saturday, July 1 between 10am and 4pm as part of the East Neuk Festival.