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Angus brothers who produced the first rye whisky in a century target North America

Iain, John and David Stirling of Arbikie Distillery
Iain, John and David Stirling of Arbikie Distillery

Angus brothers who produce the world’s only rye whisky are set to become a success in North America.

Iain, John, Sandy and David Stirling who run the Arbikie Highland Estate Distillery are anticipating a big boost to revenue after teaming up with North America’s largest drink distributor.

It’s the latest international contract for the Angus distillery, based at Lunan Bay, between Montrose and Arbroath, which uses crops grown on the family farm.

Rye whisky

When the distillery launched its first, limited-edition Highland Rye in 2018 it was the first time rye Scotch had been produced in more than a century.

After another limited-edition run last year, Arbikie is now launching 1794 Highland Rye, which has been matured in American oak casks.

Arbikie’s 1794 rye whisky

Export director Iain Stirling said: “We are delighted with the progress we have made with our Highland Rye whisky.

“In a few years, from our launch limited edition to expanding into major whisky markets, such as Canada and the US, to now launching our signature 1794 Edition, it’s a very exciting time at Arbikie as we look for further expansion in the Middle East and Asia.”

400 years of farming

The Stirling family has been farming for more than 400 years, and the brothers believe they are well-placed to capitalise on rising demand for provenance-focused luxury spirits.

They use the existing crops on their farm and by growing new crops create full traceability in their products.

Arbikie Distillery

In addition to the rye whisky, the family’s distillery also boasts the world’s only climate-positive gin and vodka, Nadar, which is said to remove around 3lb 5oz of carbon per bottle.

Arbikie has been exporting to the eastern seaboard of the US for just over a year.

In Canada, its spirits have been available in Ontario since late summer and British Columbia for only a few days following the distribution deal with Miami-based Southern Glazer’s.

The world’s first pea gin.

Arbikie’s customers include The Savoy, Four Seasons, Gleneagles, Whole Foods, Harrods, The Ritz and Harvey Nichols.

Other distilleries, including Bruichladdich and InchDairnie, are expected to launch rye whiskies soon as a new category of Scotland’s national drink emerges.

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