We helped MARTIN AND CLAIRE MURRAY FOLLOW THEIR DREAM
Founders of Dunnet Bay Distillers, Martin and Claire Murray, first met at school in Caithness. After moving away for university and work, they longed to come back home. Martin enjoyed making gin and beer, experimenting with flavours for fun. Claire is creative with a passion for design. Using the best of both of their talents and skills they forged their plan, resulting in their first distillation in August 2014. Using local botanicals, they had created an earthy and floral gin, with both spirit and bottle design reflective of their Caithness surroundings.
The company grew far more quickly than Martin and Claire had anticipated, prompting them to get in touch with Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s (HIE) Innovation team.
“Being a small family business, we were struggling to find the time or find those with the skill set to help us get things done,” says Martin.
“HIE gave us help sourcing people who had the expertise for the things we didn’t have time to do. They were very supportive during the development of some of our more challenging products. Without their help these products may have disappeared, but HIE’s assistance made their development and completion possible.”
Martin and Claire now employ a further 13 people at the distillery which, thanks to their continued growth and innovation, is now open to visitors for tour with tasting sessions.
They feel that innovation has been vital to Dunnet Bay’s growth and expansion.
“Before we started the business, innovation felt like something other people did," Martin continues. "Once we started, we realised we had to innovate to do things more efficiently. It’s the simple little things, for example, putting stickers on our bottles. It was a clumsy, time-consuming process. So Claire’s dad designed a rack that could steadily apply three stickers at a time. He then tweaked it till perfection and it has totally sped up our process.”