Shipping out from Gourock

Brand is inspired by the long history of Clyde shipbuilding

Shipyard Gin
Shipyard Gin is based in Gourock and inspired by the history of shipbuilding on the Clyde.

THE Clyde’s proud history of shipbuilding provided the inspiration for a new Scottish gin brand.
Shipyard Gin was launched in Gourock by entrepreneur Andy Samuel, whose own grandfather, John Samuel, worked in the shipyards in the 1930s and ’40s.

In his spare time he made wine from local berries and the new, 44% ABV gin uses some of the same ingredients, including gorse and heather.

The brand’s octagonal bottle is designed to represent a ship’s bow.

“I started looking at different flavour combinations using the same botanicals that my grandfather used in his wine, and by some beautiful serendipity, they all managed to go together quite well,” said Andy.

“The only thing we had to change was to use elderflower instead of elderberries.”
Andy said the gorse botanical gives the gin “a vanilla, coconutty essence which is a very faint and delicate flavour”, while the elderflower provides “a sweet note that complements the gorse”.

“The heather is almost floral, but also very faint and ties everything together,” he said.
Andy, a former wedding filmmaker, took the decision to move into the drinks industry after his wedding business was impacted by the pandemic.

“It’s a pipe dream I’ve had for a long time, but I never thought it would turn into reality,” said Andy.

“As wedding filmmakers, our business just dropped off a cliff when COVID hit, and we went from 38 weddings to only filming two last year.

“I thought, this is a great opportunity to start Shipyard Gin, because I had lots of time on my hands.

“So, I started looking into it – and now it’s launched.”

Ultimately, he aims to open a microdistillery in Gourock.

And Andy hopes the ship-building theme of the brand will appeal to consumers in other parts of the UK.

He said: “The uniqueness of this gin is its link to the shipyards, and this can be applied to lots of different shipbuilding areas around the UK, like Liverpool, Newcastle, Sunderland and Belfast.

“It also has global appeal and we’ve had some interest already from a hotel chain in the United States.”

As to the inspiration behind the gin, Andy reckoned his grandfather would be proud of the new brand – even if he tended to opt for more traditional Scottish tipples.

“I think he would be extremely proud,” said Andy.

“He wasn’t a gin drinker – he was more a hauf and a hauf man.

“But I’m sure he would have liked a taste!”