Isle of Harris set to ration their gin following bottle shortage

Isle of Harris distillery have been forced to introduce a 'brief period of rationing' for their gin following a shortage of their designer bottles. 

Published 25th Aug 2016
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The distillers poked fun at the news by describing the rationing as 'The Great Harris Gin Drought Of 2016' before explaining that due to higher than expected demand and the fact that specialist glass manufacturer, Stölzle, who make their designer bottles have closed their Yorkshire factory until September for a major furnace renewal, the distillery would have to limit the sales of bottles to one per customer.

READ MORE: 15 Scottish gins we recommend you try right now

The company also added that they would be "reducing postage costs on online orders by way of some recompense" and from September 1st would only be taking pre-orders online which would be fulfilled as soon as production returned to normal, and "sent out free of charge".

Managing director Simon Erlanger, sent out a newsletter stating that the company was doing everything it could to keep limited supplies flowing until it’s specially designed bottles were available again.

Erlanger also added that the company have been bowled over by the success of the gin which they initially had envisaged to be a "treat for visitors to the distillery" and something to enjoy while they waited for the distillery's "first Single Malt to arrive", he said: "We were very fortunate in that the quality of the gin itself seems to really have struck a chord, people are loving it."

"As a gin I think it has something very special about it, it's particularly smooth, it has the sugar kelp botanical which gives it an special elemnet of complexity and flavour which is really lovely to taste.

"With the packaging, we've created a bottle that really speaks of the island of Harris, it gives you an impression of the island, its beaches and the sea.

"I think it's that combination of the lovely tasting gin and the really great bottle that really appeal and now we've suddenly found ourselves selling about three times the quantity we originally intended to sell.

He also confirmed that the extra demand, which has played a major part in causing the bottle shortage, was a pleasant problem to have, he said: "It's delightful to have this kind of problem though, our distillery was designed to create jobs for the people of Harris and bring tourists to the island and what this extra gin production means is that we are employing more staff and we've just recruited an extra distiller - all our distillers are locals from the Isle of Harris - and we've just employed more people to help with the bottling, so it's all good news really."


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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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