Lussa Gin is the brainchild of Claire Fletcher, Georgina Kitching and Alicia MacInnes, who together make up 10% of the tiny community of Lussa, on the Hebridean island of Jura. Set up in 2015, and based at Ardlussa Estate (owned by Claire’s husband), they are self-sufficient in 11 out of the 15 botanicals they use. They grow, gather and distil fifteen zesty and aromatic botanicals so they can pack as much local flavour into every bottle as possible. They also run distillery tours and have a shop on site.
The gin uses a combination of cultivated and wild botanicals. They are self-sufficient in 11 out of the 15 botanicals they use and aim to be self-sufficient in all 15. Sea lettuce to give the gin the true taste of Jura is lifted from close to the seabed using a long boat hook. A bucket full is enough for around half a year’s supply. Flowers from the lime trees in the grounds of Ardlussa House are also used and the team has planted juniper with the ultimate aim that it meets all their needs. Around 75% of their market is in direct sales to smaller outlets and consumers and they have deliberately turned down approaches from two supermarket chains as they fear such supply pressures could compromise their slow and gentle production methods. Brexit has presented big challenges with increased paperwork, and they had to find a new haulier for Germany. They’ve had their first significant order from the USA, which required a new size of bottle and extra paperwork to comply with American food and drink regulations. Prices of cardboard packing have trebled during the Covid-19 pandemic and demand for glass for vaccine vials has also sent bottle prices soaring but the trio managed to find a way to make things work.