In a relatively short space of time, gin, once considered “mothers’ ruin”,has become the fashionable drink of the masses, and that marketplace is now very crowded indeed.
However, a unique collaboration between two of Selkirk’s newest businesses may just have found a niche product that stands out from the sea of gin available.
Kerry Holmes and Liz Rodgers of EV8 Life – which opened its new premises in the Tweed Mill Business Park last year – approached Allan Walker of Selkirk Distillers about the likelihood of combining their skills to make something no-one else in Scotland is doing.
Kerry and Liz’s business – which produces balms and confectionery from cannabidiol (CBD), a legal extract from the cannabis plant – is taking off superbly.
And the drinks company, which has only just settled into its new premises at Thirladean in the Philiphaugh Estate, has had rave reviews from their Reivers and Bannock gins.
“We kind of badgered the guys at Selkirk Distillers, and we eventually had a few meetings and came up with what we think is Scotland’s first gin and rum infused with hemp.”
The hemp used in the gin is organically grown in a farm in Lithuania and shipped over legally.
Kerry added: “We have been working quite closely with these lovely people – it’s important to us that they are local as well – and are now producing three main varieties.
“We started off with the Rumcanna, which is a hemp-infused rum with CBD, and moved onto the Gincanna, which is distilled from the plant material and other botanicals.
“The other one is Pinkcanna, a hemp-infused gin with hibiscus.
“I don’t drink myself, but I have been told that they are all quite delicious and they are selling incredibly well.
“We have been launching them up and down the country over the last couple of weeks and I believe they are being entered into one of the national gin competitions as well.
“The gins do have a very hempy smell, but underneath that you have the juniper berries coming through as welll to provide the fruitiness.”
At Selkirk Distillers, run by Allan Walker, his wife Jane Gentleman and David and Susan Myatt, the collaboration is a good one, even if it wasn’t something that happened right away.
Allan said: “Basically, they bothered the hell out of me until I agreed to meet.
“But I’m glad they did, because it has ended up with a really good product.
“It’s kind of borne from a desire to make another local product.
“I’m very happy indeed. it’s a well-worked recipe that we have tested a few times and I think it’s worked very well.
“I think we are one of the first in Scotland to produce a full botanical gin as well.
“It’s made in about three days ... and the whole place smells like a cannabis farm while it’s in production.
“At the moment, we can produce 2-300 litres a week, so it’s just getting the awareness out there.”
The two businesses have taken on adjoining stalls at this Saturday’s Selkirk Farmers’ Market, so look out for their products there.
The three varieties are available in 500ml bottles, costing £30 – and there could be more to come from the collaboration with some gin liqueurs being trialled.