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Scottish distillery releases groundbreaking 'carbon positive' gin

Scottish 'field to bottle' distiller Arbikie has taken eco-friendly spirits production to the next level with a new "climate positive" gin.

Nàdar Gin, which removes more carbon dioxide than it emits in production, is the result of five years of research by Arbikie's master distiller Kirsty Black in a PhD studentship between Abertay University and The James Hutton Institute.

Meaning "nature" in Gaelic, Nàdar uses a grain neutral spirit made from peas. Unlike cereal crops – the most common ingredient for base gin spirit – peas do not need synthetic nitrogen fertilisers, avoiding the products' negative environmental impacts, and they also help to offset the nitrogen fertiliser requirements of other crops which follow them in crop rotation.

As a result, Nàdar Gin has a carbon footprint of -1.54kg of carbon dioxide emissions per 700ml bottle. Arbikie says the use of peas makes for a smoother spirit, and the gin uses botanicals including lemongrass and citrus leaf which can be grown on the Arbikie estate inside its polytunnel.

Kirsty Black said: "Peas are a part of a unique set of plants known as legumes that are able to source nitrogen, which is critical for plant growth, from the air. This removes the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and, therefore, avoids the negative environmental impact its production and use has on our waterways, air and soils."

Graeme Walker, professor of zymology at Abertay University, is a supervisor on the PhD project. He said: "This project is an excellent example of what can be achieved with the right blend of academic expertise and industry know-how."

John Stirling, director of Arbikie Distillery, said: "Our ethos at Arbikie has always been to try and create premium spirits where all ingredients are grown on our single-estate farm, minimising our carbon footprint, and working with home-grown ingredients to create one of the world’s most sustainable distilleries. Our Nàdar Gin goes one step further and looks to make a positive, instead of neutral, impact in terms of long-term sustainability.  It also tastes fantastic, which is a credit to our distilling team."

19 February 2020 - Bethany Whymark