I'm currently sitting at what used to be my late father's desk up here at Igneous Distillery after what has been three of the craziest days of my life. I keep glancing out over to Sanna and the Hebrides beyond on this somewhat contrasting evening of calm and tranquillity, as a sense of achievement and relief washes over me.
As many of you are aware from our socials, we did it! We officially launched for general sale on Monday the 28th of August at 12 noon. I had to pull over at a service station on the M74 as I was en route north. Instantly I was overwhelmed by a wave of loose change noises coming from our Shopify app which both amused me and filled me with a feeling of panic.
Don't get me wrong, I have been quietly confident that we would be well received amongst Gin enthusiasts, but I never in my wildest dreams expected to sell over half our first release before I even made It to the Distillery. On my arrival I immediately swung into action, finishing the labelling and applying all the vital Duty Stamps; before moving on to wrapping each order in Tissue paper and packing it away into its nifty Flexi-Hex sleeve and box. All finished off with a stamp of our Logo.
It continued like this for the first 36 hours, with brief moments of respite in the form of friends coming to say hello, I even had some friends from back in York come by in their motorhome and show their support. Lurching forward to this morning I knuckled down and got Batch 2 Distilled. I had several local pick-ups by friends from the community throughout the day, so kept breaking off to show people around and explain the different elements of production. Then came the surprise visit from a gentleman who is writing a book about Ardnamurchan with a picture diary of the goings-on; this ended up with me having photos taken and grinning like I'd been drinking the profits. Not sure I'll make the final cut but at least Katie didn't have to witness me acting like a second-rate popstar.
Katie has been working like a trooper back at the studio crafting even more bottles by hand ready to be filled, and looking after our two boys. Teamwork makes the dream work and working with my best friend and soul mate truly is the dream.
The still finished its run at 4.30pm and it's cooling down nicely to be cleaned tomorrow. Batch 2 is sealed away in its storage vessel resting for the next two weeks and with that, I felt like I'd completed a circle of our new venture. Once I'd had a chance to sit and gather my thoughts for 5 minutes, I headed down to the local village of Kilchoan and hand-delivered some orders; it was great to get out on such a sunny evening and to see the excitement on their faces as I presented them with a bottle from our first release. One thing I've come to realise is that running a small business where you offer a product that people can get excited about is it really lifts your self-worth. Not that I've ever doubted what me and Katie are doing, but I feel like we have built something we can truly be proud of and that so many people are behind. The local community up here on Ardnamurchan is amazing, we feel so privileged to have so many people behind us and offering support and encouragement both in York and in this remote community; so to all of you, we genuinely thank you.
The light Is beginning to fade on another day in the remote Wild West and with that, I'll finish my rather long ramble with one final comment. I've just checked the orders and we have TWO bottles left to sell from the first release meaning we have nearly sold out in 60 hours. Don't panic! More will be ready in a couple of weeks.
Take Care and if you've got a bottle of Igneous Gin… Enjoy!
Miles and Katie x