A landmark deal has been agreed with Royal Mail that will allow drinkers from all over the country to enjoy hand-crafted gin from a distillery in the far north of Scotland while cutting their impact on the environment.
Rock Rose has become the first gin to be available in fully recyclable pouches.
Now a new scheme means customers can return the empties to the distillery at Dunnet Bay, near Thurso in Caithness, for free.
Once delivered back to the distillery, the pouches will be collected and converted into new items.
As well as juniper, Rock Rose gin - which recently celebrated its first anniversary - is made from local botanicals, including a plant commonly known as rose root, sea buckthorn and rowan berries.
Bottle for life
The brand is also known for its eye-catching ceramic bottles, which are all signed and sealed by hand at the distillery.
The new pouches mean customers can easily refill the bottles at home, saving money and re-using the original vessel as a ‘bottle for life'.
A four-layer laminate pouch has been selected to lock in the flavour of the gin, with a simple plastic spout closure.
The move comes as part of a collaboration between Rock Rose, innovation specialists PA Consulting and waste firm Terracycle.
To recycle the refill packs, buyers just need to stick on a special freepost label and drop it in a postbox.
Martin Murray, co-founder of Dunnet Bay Distillers, said: “We take sustainability incredibly seriously and have been working hard on our first-to-market recyclable pouches for over a year now.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be the first brand to have secured the support of Royal Mail for a postal recycling scheme, which we believe will be embraced by our customers.
“In the near future we plan to extend the scheme to bars, restaurants and shops, as well as making it available across all the spirits in our portfolio.
“What’s more, we are also offering in-store refills to customers at our distillery shop.”
Ryan McGinley, product design expert at PA Consulting, added: “We are delighted to have helped Dunnet Bay Distillers create an environmentally friendly solution that delivers real value to its distillery and customers.
“It took ingenuity to develop a flexible pack that could be sent direct to consumers, which not only eradicates the need to use a single-use bottle but also reduces their costs.
“This is a great example of PA bringing ingenuity to life."
The launch is the latest in a raft of green initiatives from the award-winning Dunnet Bay Distillers.
Production at the distillery, the most northerly on the UK mainland, is partly powered by solar panels, while botanical waste is given to local farmers to benefit agricultural land.
The firm joins a number of other Scottish boutique spirit makers switching to greener methods to reduce their impact on the planet.