Ogilvy Spirits began as a farm diversification in 2013. Frustrated with the secondary potatoes that the supermarkets did not want, owners Graeme and Caroline sought to find a use for these unwanted potatoes.
The Ogilvy Distillery is based at Hatton of Ogilvy Farm in Angus. As tenant farmers, the Strathmore Estate has been very supportive of the diversification that the Jarron family have made to build a distillery on the farm.
Since launching in 2014 with Ogilvy Scottish Potato vodka, the company has gone on to win World’s best vodka at the IWSC awards in London along with many other prestigious accolades for the product. The range has expanded, and a range of premix cocktails utilising the vodka and local pressed fruit juices has also been developed. This year a further product has been added to the range, which is Scotland’s first Crème de Cassis. This is blackcurrant liqueur made with local surplus blackcurrants and macerated in Ogilvy vodka.
The first diversification of building the distillery has now led to a second diversification on the farm, and a new Visitor Centre has been created. Scotland is renowned for malt whisky, and more recently for the boom in gin production, however, it is less known for vodka. Many customers were interested in learning more about the process behind Ogilvy vodka, so in 2017 plans were drawn up for a new Visitor Centre. We have a unique story to tell, and the fact that we grow, distil and bottle all on the farm makes an interesting experience for our customers.
The Visitor Centre is housed in one of the old steadings on the farm. A building with great character and charm, but not effective for modern day farming, it now provides the perfect setting for showcasing the Ogilvy brand. This project has brought a new lease of life to the building which otherwise was disused. It was restored by a team of local tradesmen as well as having input from the Jarron family. All of the cabinetry and roof work etc was carried out by local joiners. The metal work for the shelving units was done by the local smiddy. A strong emphasis has been put on using local businesses to support the local community.
The space comprises of a small shop, tasting area, toilets and kitchen. It provides a multifunction space that has already been used for hosting distillery tours, birthday parties and corporate events.
The project was in part funded by Leader funding from Angus Council, and without which this diversification could not have succeeded. As part of the funding received, a sum of money is to be paid back to the local community. Three local charities/ community groups were chosen by Ogilvy to be beneficiaries of this. Money will be given to The Royal Highland Education Trust, Glamis Primary School and Glamis Playgroup over a ten year period. Ogilvy is keen to support local businesses and groups and believes that the education of children and understanding where their food comes from and how it is grown is very important.
Strathmore Estate were also supportive of this new venture, as it brings more to the local area to offer tourists, working alongside the well-established tourist offer at Glamis Castle.
The Visitor Centre was opened on the 1 March 2019, and since then has seen both local and international visitors come for distillery tours. We have taken on one full time member of staff to help run the Visitor Centre as well as taking on three additional part time staff. All the staff are from the Angus area, so this project has been successful in creating new employment opportunities in the area. We hope to continue to grow our team and offer more employment opportunities as the Visitor Centre grows.
It’s still very early days for the Visitor Centre, but it was just listed in the Herald’s top 10 distillery tours to visit in Scotland. Feedback from the visitors so far has been very positive, and they have thoroughly enjoyed the farm side of the tour as well as the distillery which gives us a very unique proposition as Scotland’s only vodka tour.