An Orkney family business has hailed a dramatic increase in sales after a television appearance.

The firm said it also gained social media followers when one of its products appeared on James Martin’s Saturday Morning, which showcases recipes and products to a range of celebrity guests.

The Orkney Gin Company, founded by husband-and-wife team Gary and Andrea Watt, uses a traditional process to distil its spirits, which include gin, vodka and "Scotland’s first akvavit".

The team "hand-picks its base botanicals, distils the spirits slowly up to eight times, and hand-fills and corks its Selkie Folk inspired bottles, which are designed in-house in a nod to Orkney’s history and folklore".

Wholesalers make up the majority of The Orkney Gin Company’s customer base, but its products are also sold by Trade, John Lewis, Amazon and other online outlets, as well as its own website.  

After securing their operating license in 2015, Gary and Andrea initially approached Scottish Government-backed Business Gateway for support in starting-up, and received advice on their business plan and help to secure their first premises.

The Herald: The firm also had a social media boostThe firm also had a social media boost (Image: Orkney Gin Company)

Gary Watt, co-owner and distiller at The Orkney Gin Company, said: “We’re passionate about our Orcadian roots and about gin, so we knew we were capable of creating something amazing when we first approached Business Gateway for help to set-up.

“We truly thought our business would remain a local one, but we’ve enjoyed steady demand over the years, which snowballed after we won our first World Gin Award.”

The business saw a particularly large spike in sales after its Aatta gin, Christmas Old Tom gin and Orkney Akvavit appeared on James Martin’s Saturday Morning ITV programme.

Mr Watt continued: “We were approached by James and his team at a Country Living Fair in 2022 and couldn’t quite believe it. We are a small-scale family business at heart, so were very proud that someone with James’ profile liked our gin so much.”

As well as a sales increase, The Orkney Gin Company has also secured additional trade customers, and has grown its website subscribers and social media following since the programme’s broadcast. The business also saw a sales increase for its Orkney Akvavit.

Looking ahead, they are now turning their attention towards securing larger premises to keep up with product demand, with the overall goal to introduce a visitor centre to make the most of Orkney’s tourism.

Mr Watt said: “We would love to open up a visitor centre in Orkney, and will certainly be reaching out to Business Gateway for advice on this next step in our journey. They’ve already signposted us to various Covid Bounce Back funding schemes, which have been so helpful for keeping our operations afloat.

“Business Gateway has been a great support to our business operations over the years, so I’ve no doubt their continued support will be valuable as we enter this next chapter.”

Popular landmark bar and restaurant sold

The Waterside Restaurant & Bar in Strathaven has been sold to an “experienced private operator” in an off-market deal, having been in the same hands for about a decade.

The current owner is retiring, Christie & Co said. The property agent declared the sale indicated that "existing operators are keen to grow their business and acquire opportunities that are either trading well or offer the potential for growth".

Airline launches new route from Scottish airport 

An airline is launching a new route between Scotland and one of Spain's most famous city destinations.

Spanish budget carrier Vueling, based at Viladecans and owned by British Airways’ parent IAG, starts twice-weekly flights to Barcelona this month. Edinburgh Airport said: "With new Vueling flights, it just got even easier to fly to one of Europe's most stunning cities. Sunshine. Seafood. Shopping. Sport."