Microdistillery launches Scotland’s ‘first field-to-bottle eau de vie’

A new small-scale distillery in Tayport, Fife has released a line of three eaux de vie made from locally sourced fruit and grain in what it claims is the first of their kind in the country.

Founder of Tay Spirits and former nurse Kecia McDougall was inspired to venture into distilling by the area’s bountiful produce.

The three expressions showcased in the Never 25 range are milled, mashed, fermented and triple distilled before fruit is added to macerate and infuse in the spirit. It then undergoes a fourth distillation to “enhance the flavour”.

After seeking advice from Business Gateway Fife, McDougall invested £120,000 in her new business, importing a 500-litre still from the Netherlands that is capable of producing up to 1,000 bottles per month.

She chose eau de vie “because the gin market is now maturing”.

“I wanted to make something different,” she added. “With such high-quality grain and world-renowned fruit on my doorstep, eau de vie seemed the natural fit”.

“The drink is 100% Scottish using wheat from Fife, fruit from Fife and Tayside, and Scottish barley. Seven steps are followed to create the unique spirit from scratch on Scottish soil, with the fruit added twice to give Never 25’s signature flavour. Eau de vie is already a huge hit in American cocktail bars and that trend will distil across the Atlantic”.

McDougall works with local farmers to source the strawberries, raspberries, apples and wheat used in the eaux de vie. She also uses Crisp Maltings in Alloa to source her malted barley for the base alcohol, milling the grain herself at the distillery.

The name Never 25 was coined after she and her husband forgot it was their 25th wedding anniversary.

“Setting up the business has been a whirlwind, and it wasn’t until my father-in-law phoned to apologise for not sending us a 25th wedding anniversary card that I realised we’d also forgotten and my husband exclaimed ‘it’s never 25 years?’ which lead us to our brand name. The symbols on the label are all linked to my life – the golf ball for my son, the musical pause for my daughter, and the robin for my mother-in-law who, before passing away from Motor Neurone Disease, told us that whenever we see a robin she is around us”.

McDougall has said she “would love to introduce more flavours and am experimenting with a few things at the moment”.

The 70cl, 42% ABV bottles of Scottish eaux de vie are set to retail for £34.

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