A MAJOR Scottish hotel firm has moved into drinks distilling, writes Scott Wright.

The family firm behind Peebles Hydro officially opened its new gin distillery and school at the historic Borders hotel yesterday.

It comes after The Herald revealed plans by the Leckie family, who also own Crieff Hydro in Perthshire, for the project in November last year.

READ MORE: Tonic as plans revealed for Hydro gin distillery

The 1881 gin, named after the year the hotel opened, is made with the same water which has been supplying the Hydro from nearby hills for nearly 140 years. It was the healing qualities of this water which drew people to the hotel at the height of the hydropathic movement.

The gin distillery and school has been developed in the space formerly occupied by the hotel’s original swimming pool. It features 26 individual copper stills and jars of botanicals, some sourced within the hotel’s grounds.

The main copper still will produce 220 bottles of gin every day, with four varieties to be made available for sale: London Dry, Pavilion Pink, Subtly Smoked and the stronger Navy Strength. Four tonics, branded Tonic 81, have been created to complement the spirits.

Stephen Leckie, who heads the Crieff Hydro family of hotels, said: “We’re delighted that our dream of creating a gin school and distillery at Peebles Hydro has finally been realised.”