Scots gin distillery in running for shed of year

The shed in all its glory. Picture: Peter Jolly
The shed in all its glory. Picture: Peter Jolly
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A SHED that houses a gin distillery has been toasted as a winner in the shed of the year contest.

A total of 2,520 sheds were put forward for the annual contest with the top four in each of eight categories featuring in Channel Four TV show Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year.

An unusual conversion in Aviemore won the pub section and will now be pitted against the other section winners for the overall title.

Owned by Walter Micklethwait, Inshriach Distillery was once a dilapidated hen house but has been converted into a fully functioning distillery that produces the Crossbill Gin brand.

Mr Micklethwait’s shed is also a farm shop – which sells carved items, eggs and produce – a saloon bar and a velour-upholstered piano bar.

Made out of mostly recycled items including parts of an old dismantled railway station, the Inshriach Distillery has a unique charm and is home to regular parties.

Mr Micklethwait said: “Word got out that the bar was coming together and that we had juniper growing on the farm and before we knew it the shed became home to its very own gin distillery, complete with a lovely hand-hammered set of stills from Portugal and its own all-Scottish gin brand, Crossbill.

“The chickens now live in a turret built from the discarded remains of the smallest and highest railway station in the British Isles and their old house has become the scene of some very surprising parties

“The roof was all rusty sheets with woodworm in the joists so the rafters and onduline roofing are new – a job carried out in a miserable blizzard.

“The oak parquet floor, complete with a million nails sticking out of it, was salvaged for free from a bar in Aviemore, the insulation underneath it is made up out of breakthroughs from a children’s TV show, the glass doors are from the tip, and so are the patio doors.

“The bar front and the cupboards in the bar were kicking around from other projects or pinched from around the farm, the sash windows are from a house in Edinburgh, and the window in the distillery was dropped off by our mortgage adviser when he came round for a meeting.

“The doors and the furniture are either made for the purpose or they are all tip finds, as is the piano – it has been tuned but needs another go.

“All the new-looking timber is actually scrap or seconds from a sawmill.

“We spent some money on a roll of wire to put wiring and plug sockets through the shed.”

The shed cost more than £500 to build.

Voting to determine the category winners, and who goes through to the next round, is via www.readersheds.co.uk.

The public have also cast their votes on who they think deserves the title of best eco, normal, workshop and studio, unique, cabin and summerhouse, historical and budget sheds.

The overall winner will receive £1,000 courtesy of sponsors Cuprinol, along with a wooden plaque, £100 worth of Cuprinol products and a giant crown for their shed.