Food Festivals, Breaking Ground and a Whole Lot of Crime

It’s a time of year we all know well – the nights are drawing in, the mornings take just a little longer to brighten the horizon and jackets are being dusted off and reluctantly re-donned. Few could complain about this year’s summer season so there is a sense of loss in these early days of Autumn. Especially as we see the close of the country-wide Highland Games for another year.

We farewelled the season with two games that were particularly close to home. On Sunday August 5th we set up our gazebo in the neighbouring town of Bridge of Allan where we were kept a close eye on by the striking Wallace Monument. Bridge of Allan has long attracted famous visitors, including a young Robert Louis Stevenson who loved to explore the slopes of Dumyat Hill, an inspiration for his famous novel Treasure Island. We may not carry quite the same weight as Stevenson but as a local gin we do tend to gather our fair share of admirers. The Stirling Highland Games on Saturday August 18th was another chance for us to celebrate our home town and it is fitting that this will be our last for the year. While the Stirling Games are a relatively late addition to the roster – the first one only popped up in 1870 – they are immensely popular with over 4000 spectators turning up in its very first year. We are honoured to call such a beautiful area home.

We are very lucky to be one of the main sponsors of the fabulous Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival, set to kick off on Friday September 21st with a Stirling Gin drinks reception and the torch procession through Stirling city. There have been several events leading up to September, the most exciting of which involving several talks and readings at the Edinburgh Book Festival, and we got to take part in a very special evening at Edinburgh’s Waterstones. On Monday August 20th, Lin Anderson (author of The Special Dead and Driftnet to name just two) launched her new novel Sins of the Dead to a very enthusiastic audience. We were there to serve our delicious Stirling Gin Bloody Scotland cocktail and we have to say that Lin really knows her crime. Lin is one of the pioneers of the Bloody Scotland festival and we were thrilled to see her in action.

For those of you who headed into the Highlands over the weekend of August the 23rd to the 26th for this year’s Blair Horse Trials, you may have suffered in the pretty serious traffic issues along and around the A9. This is a common problem in a Scottish summer and luckily we had the perfect cure waiting at the other end. The Blair Horse Trials saw the first official public outing of our brand new Folklore Collection Gin Liqueurs, the Green Lady and the Red Cap. Releasing these beauties has taken months of rigorous experimenting, pressing and tasting (that part was definitely the easiest) so you will have to forgive us for being a little over excited. Our liqueurs use fresh fruit, all sourced from Scotland, and are completely natural in colour and flavour. The Red Cap is simply bursting with raspberry sweetness while the Green Lady hits the nose with a rush of mint followed by the smooth fruitiness of brambles. We’re sure that even the horses would have loved them, had they asked for a taste.

You may have noticed that we are opening Stirling’s first legal distillery very soon (we’ve been talking about it a lot, only every minute of every day) and October will finally see us breaking ground with the construction. After months of red tape and contractors and grant applications we will be on site planning our still room, mezzanine office, retail shop, production and packaging line and extensive garden. Yours truly will be planting seasonal flower beds, citrus and herb gardens, wild flower patches and bee-friendly plantations to help feed the bees on next door’s property. In preparation for our first day of construction we invited our local MSP Bruce Crawford to visit the building and took him through our plans and what we hope to contribute to the city of Stirling. I think it’s safe to say we gained another fan.

So what do we have planned for September? On Tuesday the 4th we will be attending the Scotsman Food and Drink Awards, specifically the reception where we are sharing our Bloody Scotland cocktail as a welcome drink. These awards celebrate the very best of Scottish food, spirits and the venues that offer them and we are thrilled to be one of its sponsors.

Summer festivals may have come to an end but Scotland’s gin festivals are still in full swing. On Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th we will be taking part in the Ayr Gin Fayre, one of many events run by the company all over Scotland. Unfortunately for the public (and fortunately for the event organisers) tickets are completely sold out on both days so if you already have your spots booked we can’t wait to see you there for a very busy weekend! If you’ve missed out on Ayr, you’ll be thrilled to know that we are also taking part in the Best of the West Festival in Inverary on the 7th, 8th and 9th of September. Set in the stunning grounds of Inverary Castle, the Best of the West is arguably the most impressive boutique festival in Scotland where music lovers, foodies and drinks enthusiasts gather to celebrate their many and varied pleasures. We will be there with samples and bottle sales – keep your eye out for our Folklore Collection. Grab a ticket for this brilliant event here.

Every year we look forward to the Wee G&T Festival in Perth as it celebrates the very best, most popular gin cocktail in history. Gin brands are given the chance to showcase their unusual botanicals, distillation techniques and unique perfect serves to really set off their gin creations. Run by Provender Brown Deli this is not an event to be missed – grab a ticket here.

To keep the Perth theme going we are also appearing at the Taste of Perthshire Food Festival on September 14th, 15th and 16th. Armed with our London Dry Stirling Gin and Folklore Collection liqueurs we are joining some of Scotland’s finest food and alcohol producers – rumour has it that the food demonstrations are out of this world. This is a free event in the heart of Perth city centre – for more information visit their Facebook page here. Here’s hoping we get another visit from the fantastic foodie Tony Singh!

And finally, September 21st sees the official start of the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival. There are too many events, readings, shows and signings to mention here but a few things this avid reader is looking forward to include; Alanna Knight and Alex Gray in conversation; The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers and their murderously funny songs; Lin Anderson on the psychologist’s couch to discuss why she writes crime; and Stuart MacBride’s talk about his brand new novel and hopefully an update on his World Stovies Championship placing. A full list of events can be found on their website here and rest assured, we will be there every day with our very own Bloody Scotland cocktail.

Happy September!

Stirling Gin offer a variety of tasting packages for private parties, business functions, club events and more. Prices start at £20 – get in touch with Lara at larawilliams@stirlinggin.co.uk for more information. And remember, if you’re simply after a bottle for yourself or as a gift, they can be bought online here.

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