Scottish distillery Arbikie create 'world's first' climate positive gin made with garden peas

One of Scotland's sustainable distilleries, Arbikie, has announced the release of an innovative, carbon neutral gin.

Published 19th Feb 2020
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

Named Nàdar, which means nature in Gaelic, the new gin is thought to be the world's first climate positive gin made from peas.

A revolutionary spirit for the drinks industry, with a carbon footprint of -1.54 kg CO 2 e per 700ml bottle, it is at the forefront of the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss - the biggest challenges humankind has ever faced.

Nàdar is the result of five years of research, through Master Distiller, Kirsty Black’s, PhD studentship between Abertay University and The James Hutton Institute.

How is it carbon neutral?

The climate positive gin avoids more carbon dioxide emissions than it creates, which is achieved through the most innovative and surprising ingredient – the garden pea.

Most gins are made from spirit distilled from cereals such as wheat, barley or maize, but peas are grown without the need for synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and so its negative environmental impact on waterways, air and soils is avoided.

Peas also benefit the ecosystem as a whole by improving soil quality and offsetting synthetic nitrogen fertiliser requirements of other crops, which follow peas in the crop rotation.

climate positive gin
Picture: Kirsty Black and Graeme Walker

Kirtsy Black’s PhD at Abertay University and the James Hutton Institute is focused on exploring the
potential of pulses such as peas and beans as an environmentally sustainable crop to the brewing and distilling industries.

She said: “Peas are a part of a unique set of plants known as legumes that are able to source nitrogen, which is critical for plant growth, from the air.

"This removes the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and, therefore, avoids the negative environmental impact its production and use has on our waterways, air and soils."

Professor of Zymology at Abertay University, Graeme Walker, who is supervisor on the PhD project, says: “This project is an excellent example of what can be achieved with the right blend of
academic expertise and industry know-how.

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“Creating real-world impact through our scientific research is part of Abertay’s core mission and I’m
delighted to see that coming together in this genuinely innovative project.”

Tasting notes

climate positive gin
Picture: Nadar gin

With the base spirit made from peas, Nàdar Gin is smooth to drink and uses lemongrass and citrus leaf as the botanicals, which give a fresh and fruity aroma.

These natural botanicals can be locally grown on Arbikie Estate, inside their polytunnel.

John Stirling, director of Arbikie Distillery said: “Our ethos at Arbikie from our inception has been to try and create world-class premium spirits where all ingredients are grown on our Single Estate farm.

"Minimising our carbon footprint and working with the wonderful home grown ingredients to create one of the world’s most sustainable distilleries.

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"Our Nàdar Gin goes one step further and looks to make a positive, instead of neutral impact, in terms of long-term sustainability.  It also tastes fantastic which is a credit to our distilling team – I hope you enjoy.”

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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