Massacre gin named after Glencoe atrocity dropped after historian's complaints

A gin named after the Glencoe Massacre has been dropped from sale after complaints from a historian whose ancestor was killed in the 1692 atrocity.

The Massacre Strength Gin - which was inspired by the Glencoe Massacre -  has now been removed from sale and will be rebranded following complaints from a historian. PIC: Contributed.
The Massacre Strength Gin - which was inspired by the Glencoe Massacre - has now been removed from sale and will be rebranded following complaints from a historian. PIC: Contributed.

Massacre Strength was introduced by Pixel Spirits Distillery, which is based in the Glencoe area, with the name chosen in part to reflect the spirit’s high ABV of 58%.

Historian Rosalin MacDonald made a number of complaints about the name with the gin now removed from online sale.

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One of her ancestors, Duncan Rankin, was the first man to be shot as he crossed the River Coe to warn the MacDonalds of the impending horror of February 1692, when an estimated 30 Highlanders were killed by government troops.

Ms MacDonald has also received an apology from the company, which is run by Craig and Noru Innes, who also run the Loch Leven Hotel at North Ballachulish.

Ms MacDonald told the Press and Journal: “It was very good of Craig and Noru to pull the gin from production. Craig has invited me to meet with him and discuss the local history and I will take him up on it.

“I objected to the name of the gin and I think that dozens of clans people would have objected too.

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“For the past 80 years this terrible event has been commemorated on 13th February in the village and clans people worldwide have attended this event over the years. It wasn’t a battle that took place, it was a massacre.”

Mr Innes said he did not intend to cause offence with the Massacre Strength name but confirmed it would now be re-branded, with bottles now removed from sale with immediate effect.

He said: “The local population have been largely positive and supportive of our craft distillery since we opened a few years ago; our product names are inspired by our local area and intended to celebrate this landmark location and its history.

“In choosing a name for our most recent release, Massacre Strength, we highlighted the events of that evening but did not pass judgment. It is perhaps one of the best-known historical events associated with our area and an event of such importance that it still features in the school syllabus.

“I spoke with Rosalin and apologised for our branding of this product which could have been perceived as offensive, though was never our intention.

“As a result, I have taken the decision to rebrand the product and have withdrawn it from our sales channels with immediate effect."

Pixel Spirits Distillery was set up in 2017 with the view of creating a new gin for the bar at the Loch Leven Hotel, a former 17th Century coaching inn.

The couple now distill several lines and create bespoke gins for customers, with a gin school also now up and running.

Mr Innes added: “I have invited Rosalin with her wealth of knowledge on the local area, to join me for a tea, coffee or perhaps a gin and tonic at a later point so that we can discuss some of the amazing historical talking points in the area that might be more sympathetic to our brand and that of our locality and look forward to this opportunity with relish.”

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