Glenrinnes Distillery, Glenrinnes, Keith


Alex Christou and his step-father, Alasdair Locke run their family-run estate in the heart of Speyside, in the shadow of The Ben Rinnes mountain. This large estate is more than 6,000 acres of Scottish countryside. They specialised in rearing award-winning, organic, pedigree cattle and sheep but Alex looked to see what else they could produce from the land around them. It didn't take very long for him to see that it was the perfect conditions for them to create a distillery with the space they had and use their abundance of natural ingredients to create their own gin and vodka. Last year they made this a reality by opening the impressive Glenrinnes Distillery and launching two products in Eight Lands Organic Speyside Gin and Eight Lands Organic Speyside Vod-ka.

The Spirit

Alex and Alasdair realised early on that they had to get the right knowledge into the business in order to create a spirit that would stand out in a crowded category such as gin and vod-ka. This knowledge came in the guise of two women how between them have not only helped to create a state of the art distillery but also spirits that Speyside should be proud of. Meeghan Mur-doch is the operations manager, with extensive experience in distilling, brewing and winemaking while Katrina Stewart the distiller studied chemical engineering as her first degree, recently gradu-ated with an MSc in brewing and distilling from Heriott Watt University. They have created Eight Lands Organic Speyside Gin with 11 different botanicals, with two of them from the estate in cow-berries and sorrel. They also use two types of juniper go Albanian and Hungarian as well as corian-der, orris root, cardamom, camomile, cassia bark, and citrus peels. Even in the short space f time they have already won a Master medal in Ultra Premium round of The Gin Masters 2019 blind-tasting competition, plus Golds in the London Dry and Organic contingents.

Interesting fact

This is not a distillery in some old shed that has just been thrown together with a limited budget. They have a 1,000-litre pot still, called Rebecca after Alex’s wife and many geeky gadgets that make their production state of the art in spirit production. And unlike some Scottish gin distilleries everything is made from scratch, no cutting corners here.

Why Visit?  

The name ‘Eight Lands’ was inspired by the peak of Ben Rinnes, which looks out across eight counties that can be seen on a rare clear day in Speyside. I would recommend visiting this modern distillery, not only are you able to visit several amazing whisky distilleries near by, you will also get to experience the new wave of innovative Scottish distilleries that is making Scotland the epicentre for spirits.