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Follow our journey – what we’ve been up to!

WE SAID GOODBYE TO OUR OLD HOME

May 2018 marked the end of an era at our home in St Andrews. Since Eden Brewery started in 2012 we’d been based in a small section of the old Guardbridge Paper Mill, and over the years had tacked on some extra areas, improved our shop, and upgraded our production kit.

By late 2017 we were bursting at the seams and pressed on with plans to relocate our brewery & distillery to the opposite side of the site into a lovely old building overlooking the Eden Estuary. This meant saying goodbye to what had been our home for five years. The place where our brewers created the range of beer that is often seen in bars throughout St Andrews. The place where our, now award winning, range of gins were devised, refined, and perfected. The place where we filled the first cask of single malt whisky in St Andrews for over 150 years. And a place that we’ve proudly shown 16,000 visitors around on tours, where they’ve met the wonderful team of people who’ve made all of these things happen. It was a sad moment when we closed the doors for the final time. 

WE OPENED THE GATEHOUSE

But the prospect of being able to expand upon what we’d achieved gave us all a new focus, and we set about making plans for the future. This meant some creative thinking in the short-term while construction was underway, and thus Gatehouse was born! Right on Main Street in Guardbridge, directly across from the famous Mill clock, we secured an area to use for our pop-up shop and tastings that would allow us to continue to offer an experience to visitors while our production space was being renovated a few hundred meters across the road.

We sourced shipping containers and set about converting them into our new shop and tasting rooms, which drew upon our teams secondary talents such as joinery and gardening! Fortunately, we’ve got quite the talented bunch who put in a few long shifts to make sure we were open in time for the summer.

In July, we opened the Gatehouse and resumed where we’d left off – offering beer, gin and whisky tastings, sharing our story with visitors, and giving away some sneaky details about what’s going on behind the scenes with our permanent site move. We launched our Summer Punch Gin, and The Gatehouse was an ideal place to sit and enjoy it in the sunshine.

We even made time for some mini-golf between tastings!

It was fantastic to see visitors enjoying what we were doing, despite not being able to see our brewery/distillery. 1500 people visited us over the summer, and we found that we actually hadn’t gone big enough with our pop-up! An upgrade was needed, and so we decided to renovate our space once more. Lots of ideas were thrown around, but we wanted something unusual, that would do the things that Eden Mill have always been good at – being creative and making an instant impression!

NOW WE’VE OPENED THE DOMES…

Our new custom-built structures arrived in February and gained instant attention from local passers-by on Main Street. Buses, taxis and pedestrians all gave a bemused look as they passed, which was exactly what we were hoping for! Our team set about building the giant jigsaw puzzles that were to become our two new geodesic domes. The build took around four days, and we were delighted with the results.

This now gives us more capacity to host tastings with guests, and a place to showcase not only our story so far, but the future plans. It creates a space we are excited to show people, and somewhere we know our visitors will enjoy spending an hour or two with us sampling beer, gin or whisky.

From 10th April we’ll be running daily tastings at Gatehouse, focused around either gin or beer & whisky (combined). These will be an hour long, and have been put together from scratch by our team. We’ve thrown the old format and scripts out and started again, thinking about what we want to tell visitors about our journey and how we can share some secret details about our new permanent site as it’s being constructed.

We’ve worked hard over the past nine months to put together something different to really show people what Eden Mill is all about, and we cannot wait to welcome our first guests this summer. There really is no better place to enjoy a sample while you pick the brains of one of our team, so we sincerely hope you’ll come along for a visit this year. Whether you’re a whisky connoisseur, a gin aficionado, or a beer enthusiast, we very much look forward to seeing you!

 

 

YOU CAN BOOK A GIN OR WHISKY AND BEER TASTINGS HERE:

A day making malt whisky at the Eden Mill distillery

Between The Snow And A Warm Place

It’s not a common occurrence for me; a sun-loving Australian being outdoors on a freezing Scottish morning. But today is different because I’m making malt whisky!

There is something wildly exciting about the sharp sting of snow on my face while the backs of my legs are pressed up against a piping hot underback with its swirling, molasses-like wash turning circles within.

I’m at the Eden Mill Distillery in St Andrews, Scotland; watching the day outside get whiter while we start making whisky with a chocolate wash. I’ve just climbed down a narrow ladder having helped Marc (one of our distillers) to empty seemingly endless 25 kilo bags of malted barley into the top of a mashing tun. It’s not back breaking work but it’s also not easy; balancing myself on the platform while the bag does its best to flop out of my frozen hands and spill through the grate under my feet.

Breaking up the mash

Marc is leaning into the tun with what looks like the paddle from a canoe. As he breaks up the clotting mash I listen to him explain that because of this step, we can rip every possible bit of sugar out of the wash.

From the tun, the wash travels into the kettle via my own personal fireside, the underback. This little contraption stops a vacuum forming in the bottom of the tun; providing a fantastic opportunity to taste this infant-level whisky. We are at the very early stages of crafting a new future malt whisky.

My Own Weetabix Soup Taste

Marc tops up my coffee with an inky black dram. It tastes like the richest possible Weetabix soup.

In the early days of distilling, workers would top this concoction up with a healthy slug of whatever whisky lay close to hand. Trust me – if I weren’t driving I’d be hard pressed not to do the same.

I’ve been on lots of different distillery tours; polished for tourists and rough and ready industrial types but this is the first time I’ve watched this process so closely or intently.

It’s hard to imagine that the viscous near-sticky liquid I see running through the pipes will at some point become clear as spring water and loaded at 63.5% ABV.

Sparging

This stretch of my imagination is not helped when Marc informs me that the final stage for the mash is to undergo the sparge; a word I at first refuse to believe is real.

Sparging releases fresh water over the remaining mash in three progressively hotter bursts. What’s left behind contains less sugar than a Brita-filtered glass of water.

My final glance of Marc is of his legs from the waist down as he crawls into the bottom of the tun and starts bailing out moist armfuls of spent mash.

I beg him to let me help. Sadly, my part in the day is done. I’ve proudly earned my wash rights and it only cost me a couple of frost bitten fingers.

—Lara Williams, 02 March 2017

You can see a lot of this activity during the distillery whisky tours.  Our visitors are delighted with the experience and tours can be booked via the website.

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