By Scott Wright

THE son of leading Scottish hotelier Stephen Leckie has been appointed to spearhead the hotel-owning family’s push into the gin market.

Charlie Leckie, who belongs to the sixth generation of Crieff Hydro’s owners, will lead the 1881 Gin Distillery, which is based at their Peebles Hydro Hotel and resort.

His appointment comes on the back of £500,000 of investment made by the family to help ensure supply of the gin meets demand.

The injection has funded a redesign of the distillery over the last eight months, and the creation of new branding across the four-flavour range: Hydro, Pavilion, Rafters and Honours. Each expression now carries an illustration that pays homage to the heritage of the Hydro resort, which can be traced back to 1881, and the botanicals used in the recipes. The 1881 gin uses local botanicals and draws from the same mineral-rich spring water source at Shieldgreen that was originally famed for its rejuvenating water treatments.

The 1881 business includes a residential gin school located within the 132-bedroom hotel and a distillery classroom with 26 mini stills.

Charlie Leckie, brand manager of 1881, said: “We’re proud of the heritage of Peebles Hydro, which is embodied by the 1881 gin brand – it’s truly a very special product with a blend of carefully chosen Scottish botanicals and distilled in the heart of the Borders.

“Every aspect of the bottle has been redesigned to reflect our story, with unique artisan illustrations for each flavour to represent our history and passion for the Borders and the product itself. We have ambitious growth plans for the 1881 gin brand with several new products already in the pipeline that are attracting the attention of nationwide retailers.

“We’re so proud of the final result and are delighted to share this with gin lovers across the globe.”

The Leckie family’s plans to develop a gin distillery at Peebles Hydro were revealed by The Herald in November 2018. Stephen Leckie said yesterday: “We’re embarking on an exciting new chapter for our family business, repositioning our 1881 gin brand to more accurately represent our heritage and values. I’m proud to entrust my son Charlie alongside the experienced 1881 Distillery team to lead our efforts in taking this brand from strength to strength.”