Wild Thyme Spirits (WTS) is a family business owned and run by Eileen & Finlay Geekie who left over 30 years of Oxfordshire life behind them back in 2016 when they moved to the isle of Colonsay to live and work. They not only make premium artisan spirits but also run a Gin Lover's Retreat from their Hebridean HQ on the island, and have been able to combine their love of all things gin with a desire to create a viable long-term future, living and working on the remote island and, at the same time, make a significant contribution to the future sustainability and ongoing development of the fragile local economy and community as a whole.
WTS supply all three island outlets – the Shop, Pantry and Hotel – which has generated combined sales of over £25k in the first two Summer seasons. As well as supplying 12 outlets on neighbouring Islay, they also supply the Calmac ferries that provide such an important lifeline for the community.
Since launching their first product – Colonsay Gin – in March 2017, the two entrepreneurs have sold over 25,000 bottles and gained listings in on and off-sales establishments in Scotland, the wider UK and online, as well as selling direct from the island through their own website shop. Listings in Aldi & Lidl supermarkets have also been secured and discussions are ongoing with Morrisons. Export orders are also being fulfilled to as far afield as Canada, Spain and the USA. They have expanded their product range to include; Bramble Liqueur, Red Snapper RTD cocktail and have collaborated with the Highland Pâtissier to produce handmade chocolates.
Despite the, at times, extremely challenging logistics of island life, all production was moved to the island in May 2018 and with planning approval in place for a purpose built facility, WTS is fast becoming the go-to destination for gin fans and island visitors alike, offering, not only distillery tours and tastings, but also, luxury weekend breaks at the Retreat.
The Company recently signed an exclusive agreement with the Colonsay Estate, giving them sole rights to hand forage for wild botanicals growing on the Estate, and do so in a legal, sustainable and environmentally responsible way. This gives the distillers huge scope to experiment with local botanicals to help create future products with distinctive Colonsay provenance.
Referencing this important part of their corporate ethos, Eileen said: “With provenance and transparency at the forefront of an increasingly crowded gin market, todays gin fans are ever more discerning and inquisitive about where and how their favourite tipples are made. We are delighted to be able to show visitors round our distillery and explain all the different processes we go through to produce our multi international award winning Colonsay Gin.”
Instagram forms a huge part of their marketing plans and WTS maximise the ever-growing potential of over 25,000 followers across all social media platforms.
From a base of zero in 2017, the Company is scheduled to turnover £250,000 in 2019, and looks forward to starting construction of their distillery and visitors centre in 2020, and creating much needed, full time employment on the island.
Instagram & Twitter - @colonsaygin
Facebook - @wildthymespirits
Website - www.wildthymespirits.com