Day in the Life: Nick Sinclair, co-owner of The Edinburgh Butter Co. tells us about his day

Nick Sinclair, who owns this business with his wife, Hilary, tells us what their butter-making involves

Published 3rd Aug 2021
Updated 8 th Aug 2023


I’m up, showered and out the door within 20 mins.


I’ll get to the factory first and start lining everything up for the day’s production. The crème fraiche that has been culturing in the fridge is ready to be transferred to the churn. Some of the machinery, which was cleaned the day before, is re-assembled. Record charts are filled out with the temperatures of fridges as well as the temperature and pH of the crème fraiche.


The rest of the team get in and we get going properly. During the day, we’re split between team churn and team shape, with two people on each. Every day we’re churning around 200kg of butter which gets weighed, then put in the fridge overnight for shaping the next day.


Shaping is usually finished around now, so that team cleans down the machine and gets on with other cleaning duties, as well as sorting out all the courier collections. At the moment, daily, we are sending out around 200kg of butter, as far south as Cornwall and as far north as Orkney.


We sit down for a quick team lunch. One of us makes lunch every day for everyone. There are lots of salads in summer and soups in winter. We might have something along the lines of Tobermory Hot Smoked Trout, broccoli, new potatoes, salad leaves and a couple of boiled eggs with a simple horseradish and crème fraiche dressing.

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We start the next batch of crème fraiche. The cream will have been delivered earlier in the day and, at this point, we start the next culture. It gets put to bed in our culturing room at a regulated temperature for 24-hours to ferment and form the crème fraiche that is the basis for our butter.


With clean-down in full swing you can guarantee that DHL will turn up to pick up the deliveries. Once those are out the door and the cleaning is done it’s home time.


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Whichever of us is not in the factory is on dinner duty. If we’re eating fish it’ll generally be from David Lowrie and be some kind of Thai or Indian curry, always completely made up and never the same twice which is infuriating when you nail it, then can’t remember what exactly you did. We’ll have a catch up on the day, how things were in the factory and how our dog Cooper’s walks were and did he roll in anything.


After dinner we zone out in front of the TV. At the moment we’re watching The Bridge, as we never got round to it when it first came out.


It’s time for a cup of tea and a little something sweet like dark chocolate. If I’m very lucky Hils has made some tahini brownies. I’m adamant there must be something illegal in them as they’re just so moreish. Then off to bed. As soon as my head hits the pillow I’m out like a light ready to do it all again tomorrow.

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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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