I hope you’ve all had a good working week and are looking forward to the weekend. I’m very pleased to be sharing a new Behind The Biz interview with you today (gin fans will be happy with this one). Just a quick FYI for anyone who’s new around here, Behind The Biz is an interview series where I discover growing businesses, the people behind them and their business journey.
Today’s interview is with Martin Murray, Co-Founder of Rock Rose Gin. I’ve been a fan of Rock Rose Gin ever since I first tried it this time last year. I’ve since gone on to enjoy their Seasonal Editions and have picked a couple of bottles up as gifts.
Let’s get into the interview.
Please tell us about your business?
Hello and thanks for having us! We run a wee distillery up in the far North of Scotland and we launched our first spirit, Rock Rose Gin, in 2014. We now also produce a craft vodka, Holy Grass Vodka, along with seasonal editions of our gin and a Navy Strength version too. With both the gin and the vodka our aim is to capture the provenance of the Scottish Highlands and showcase the abundance of botanicals in our local environment. We hand-forage these from the local cliffs and forest, along with growing them in our own distillery garden. We also slowly and carefully hand-distill the spirits in our traditional copper pot and bottle and seal them by hand, a process we believe to be pretty unique.
When we launched we had no idea what an incredible journey the next two years would take us on and we have been blown away by the response to our products and have been proud to pick up a host of awards along the way.
Where did the inspiration for Rock Rose Gin come from?
Gin has always been Claire’s tipple of choice and I studied brewing and distilling whilst at university, so it was always a pipe dream of ours to have our very own distillery one day.
Once we’d finally decided to start looking at whether we could turn this dream into a reality, we started researching the local environment, before setting out on our first botanical forage with a local ranger Mary Legg and herbalist Brian Lamb, who helped us identify those botanicals that might be suitable for gin.
How did you decide upon the name of your brand?
The gin is named after our hero botanical, Rhodiola rosea or ‘a rose in the rocks’, which we were first introduced to on that first botanical forage. It adds a delicate floral note to the gin and has a long history in Caithness, as it was once pillaged from the local area by the Vikings who believed it would make them live to 200 years old!
What did you do before starting Rock Rose Gin?
Claire, has worked in the hospitality and events sectors throughout her career and I worked in the oil and gas industry, so spent a lot of my time off-shore. This was a key factor in us finally deciding to take the plunge and launch the distillery; we wanted to spend more time together as a family.
Where do you hope to take your business in the year ahead?
It looks set to be a really exciting year for the distillery. We have just had planning permission approved to expand the distillery meaning we can double production and also open a visitor’s centre for tours of the distillery. We will also continue with our Seasonal Editions, which have proved real collectors items this year and next year we’ll plan to launch them on the first day of each season.
Thank you so much to Martin for taking the time to be involved with Behind The Biz. I hope like me, you’ve all enjoyed learning more about the world of Rock Rose Gin. I’m very excited to hear that they plan to open a visitor’s centre in the near future.
Keep an eye on my blog over the next few days for a review of their Autumn Edition Gin. If you can’t wait a moment longer then check out my thoughts on their Spring Edition.
If you fancy getting involved with Behind The Biz please leave a comment below or drop me a message over on Twitter.