Appointment of a new trainee distiller at 1881 Gin Distillery marks a new be-gin-ing for the business

The appointment of a new trainee at a Peebles-based gin distillery is a real tonic for the business.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 1:40 pm
Lauren Appleyard.
Lauren Appleyard.

Due to growing demand the 1881 Gin Distillery, based at the Peebles Hydro Hotel, has welcomed trainee distiller Lauren Appleyard to its team.

The appointment follows a significant investment and relaunch of the 1881 brand at the end of last year.

Lauren has a background in hospitality having previously held roles as manager of bars and restaurants.

Lauren Appleyard and Dean McDonald.

She is about to embark on a distilling qualification and has already been working closely on the distillery’s new limited edition summer release, Hydro Garden Gin.

Lauren, who graduated from university with a science-based degree, said: “It’s great watching the botanicals go from part of our environment to the heart of our gins. “Finding out how they react with each other and produce such depth of flavour is fascinating and the creative process behind each gin is quite intricate.

“One of my favourite parts of the job so far is working in the Gin School and teaching our guests about the botanicals, and how to match botanical flavours to create a lovely spirit.

“The biggest challenge for me so far has been learning how to operate Felicity. She’s a fantastic still, so I want to do everything right, and make sure she’s looked after.”

Charlie Leckie, 1881 brand manager, added: “We are delighted to welcome Lauren to our team and she is already proving to be a fantastic addition.

“She joins our head distiller Dean McDonald who is instrumental in creating our fantastic four gin varieties as well as our limited edition releases.

“Having just completed a Masters in Brewing and Distilling, Dean will be a great mentor for Lauren in helping her complete her training.”

The Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels relaunched its 1881 brand, which is named after the year Peebles Hydro Hotel was founded, at the end of last year and made a significant £500,000 investment in upgrading the distillery as part of its growth strategy.

Served from all seven properties within the Crieff Hydro family of hotels, all 1881 gin products are also available to purchase online at