Christmas comes early for gin lovers in the Borders

Tom Graham, brewer at Born in the Borders brewery, meets his new neighbour, The Lilliard Gin still.

Tom Graham, brewer at Born in the Borders brewery, meets his new neighbour, The Lilliard Gin still.

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The Borders’ first distillery in almost 180 years will start production early in the new year – but you can prebook a bottle for Christmas.

While the two planned whisky distilleries in Hawick and Jedburgh were making headlines recently, Lilliard Gin has been working behind the scenes to put in place their plans.

And the new distillery, based in a cowshed at the Born in the Borders site near Lanton, has been granted approval by HM Revenue and Customs – and will begin producing Borders gin on a small scale.

Lead distiller Kate Macinnes is delighted to be part of the new generation of Borders distillers.

She said: “The potential development of the Borders as a region of distilling excellence is really exciting, and we are so happy to be a small part of that.

“Our gin production is on a completely different scale to the other distilleries in development.

“Our still is one of the smallest production stills in the UK, and our entire operation fits into a cowshed, but if people like our gin, that’s all that matters.

“We have a rich abundance of wild food on our doorstep in the Teviot valley, and Lilliard Gin aims to capture that and convey a true sense of the local flavour palette and our Borders ‘terroir’.”

Kate said that interest in the venture has been huge, and people have been queueing up to be one of the first to grab a bottle.

She said: “We want to be able to allow people to prebook the first bottles for Christmas presents.

“So we are launching a Crowdfunder page on Friday, December 16, in order that people can get the perfect present for their loved ones.

“This will also raise money for the foraging classes we have planned for next year.”

Click here to visit crowdfunder page

This is the first independent business to take up premises at Born in the Borders.

Owner John Henderson immediately saw the synergy between the Scottish Borders Brewery – which is also based at the Lanton visitor centre – and the new gin venture.

“To be able to play host to the first new distillery in the Borders in nearly 200 years is incredible. And the fact that Lilliard Gin are looking to use Borders botanicals means they are completely in tune with our own ethos of local sourcing.

“We just can’t wait for them to get started, and to taste their gin!”

The distillery will be open to visitors in the New Year, but as it is a full working distillery, hours will be restricted due to legal and health and safety requirements. The distillery will be happy to accommodate visits by prior arrangement – email enquiries@lilliardgin.co.uk

However, gin will always be available in the shop.