Gin distillery wins shed of the year 2015

A wooden shack housing a gin distillery, farm shop and Wild West saloon bar has been named shed of the year in Channel 4’s annual competition.

IMG_5110Once a dilapidated hen house, the Inshriach Distillery in the grounds of Inshriach House, an Edwardian country house on an estate near Aviemore in Scotland, is made out of mostly recycled items including parts of an old dismantled railway station.

Owned by Walter Micklethwait, the shed houses a farm shop, a wild-west-themed saloon bar and a velour upholstered piano bar. However the jewel in its crown is its micro gin distillery, where Micklethwait produces Crossbill Gin – the Highlands’ first Scottish gin produced from 100% locally sourced juniper and rosehip.

IMG_5091Inshriach forest in Cairngorms National Park is one of the few places in the UK with an abundance of native wild juniper.

Crossbill’s founder, Jonathan Engels said: “I’d always been interested in reviving Scottish juniper harvesting to produce a truly Scottish gin. The forests of Inshriach provided us with the best conditions for cultivating a sustainable supply of wild juniper. I saw no reason to set up a distillery in a big city when we could set up shop right in forest, next to our precious juniper. No other distillery can pick their juniper and get it in the still in the time it takes to make a cup of tea.”

Crossbill-GinCrossbill’s converted chicken shed had already been named the winner of the competition’s pub shed of the year category. Last night it was named the overall winner of the 2015 shed of the year competition, beating 2,250 sheds to the title. 

Walter Micklethwait, estate owner, said: “We hope the recognition by Shed of the Year inspires others with a similar passion and drive. This award demonstrates that great things can come out of small spaces. All that is needed is a good idea, a lot of creativity and some basic DIY skills.”

Crossbill is currently working with the Forestry Commission and PlantLife.org to revive Scotland’s juniper production. The distillery’s Crossbill Gin Batch 2 retails for £38.

Click through to see the pub shed finalists who lost out to the Inshriach Distillery…

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