Orkney distillers are off to a flyer

New-build Kirkwall distillery due to open to visitors next Easter

Stephen Kemp (right) launching The Prince of Orkney gin earlier this year

IT’S been a bumper year for Orkney distillers, Stephen and Aly Kemp.

As the construction of the couple’s new-build distillery on Kirkwall’s Ayr Road nears completion (it’s due to open to visitors next Easter), which will see the production of their craft spirit, Kirkjuvagr gin, move in-house, the entrepreneurial duo certainly haven’t stood still.

Earlier this year, Orkney Distilling launched a new ‘storm strength’ edition of its Kirkjuvagr gin.

Named Arkh-Angell, after the fishing boat that belonged to Aly Kemp’s father, the 57% ABV gin was designed to complement the original Kirkjuvagr gin.

When the new distillery is completed next year, production of the gin will move to Kirkwall.

More recently, the Kemps teamed up with Rosslyn Chapel to produce a new gin which celebrated the Midlothian chapel’s links to Orkney – Sir William St Clair, third Prince of Orkney, is said to have founded the chapel in 1446. Named The Prince of Orkney to honour the link, the gin is described as a smooth spirit with a “sweetness reminiscent of sherbet, lemon and pines”.

And, last month, Aly was one of 40 women from across the UK to be named a Great British food Heroine.

The award recognises women who are “ambassadors for British food, working to ensure it grows and thrives into the future”.

Work continues to progress at the distillery

Aly said: “I was really thrilled to receive this award as it recognises the important part women play in the UK’s food and drink industry.

“At Orkney Distilling, we’ve championed local ingredients from the outset and are always conscious of the need to maintain the highest standards in everything we do.”