Isle of Cumbrae Craft Gin Distillery

by Isle of Cumbrae Distillers in Millport, Scotland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 12th June 2020 we successfully raised £22,560 with 283 supporters in 32 days

5 enterprising women from Millport, Scotland, are launching a gin distillery. We're raising funds for our still and for student internships.

by Isle of Cumbrae Distillers in Millport, Scotland, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Thank you so much for your support! If we can raise £20,000-£25,000, our plans are to renovate part of our distillery and purchase equipment and furniture to create a gin school, where individuals and groups can learn the science behind the gin-making process and how botanicals are used to create new gins. Participants will learn to distill their very own gin on mini stills we will be able to purchase with the additional funds, using botanicals they have chosen. We will also be able to use the gin school space for other innovative workshops, like mixology, lamp making (using our bottle), "gineology" and others, that will draw more visitors to the island, summer and winter, creating year-round employment and training opportunities in Millport.

Who we are

We are five young-at-heart women who live in the small Scottish island town of Millport, on the Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland. We are distinctively positioned as being one of the few all-female distilling teams in Scotland (and the world!), and the only international women’s team, drawing representation from the UK, Canada and the USA.

Nostalgin - Our Signature Gin

In its heyday in the 1950’s and 60’s, Millport was a thriving holiday destination. Our signature gin, Nostalgin, celebrates the strong emotional connection and nostalgia Millport holds in so many people’s hearts, those who spent their childhood summers here and those who return with their children and grandchildren, ensuring the connection to the island continues to grow and thrive.

For new visitors and certainly a growing number of international visitors, we hope our gin will capture your heart and your imagination; we want it to be part of your Scottish island experience, to celebrate the rich Scottish history and culture, the coastal waters and our quaint harbour towns. We have chosen a bottle design that we hope will inspire you to repurpose the bottle long after the gin is gone; when you see the Nostalgin bottle in your home, we hope it will evoke warm memories of and nostalgia for your experience in Scotland.

Our Botanicals

We've chosen our main botanicals of lavender, blackberry (we call them brambles in Scotland) and orange to try to emulate that transformation visitors experience on the short ferry ride from Largs to Cumbrae. Distilled with the purest of Scottish waters - of course - we've topped off our recipe with a bit of Scottish island magic; a dash of noble Scottish thistle for health & improved energy and a smidgen of heather, considered to bring good luck and protection.

The Nostalgin Label

In designing our label, we wanted to create an emotional connection and capture an image that was instantly recognisable to the thousands who know and love Millport – the iconic harbour! We also knew that we wanted to engage a young Scottish artist to create an image that complemented the Nostalgin label, someone who has Millport in their heart; luckily for us we found Jack Sutton, a very talented young artist who specialises in ink drawings and has a family home on the island.

The Nostalgin Tartan

When we set out to design our Nostalgin label, we knew we wanted something that would scream 'Scotland' - what better way than with a tartan!
The Nostalgin tartan, which has now been officially registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans (probably the only gin in the world with its own tartan!), represents each of the colours of our gin botanicals.
We were thrilled to receive our certificate, signed by the Keeper of the Scottish Register of Tartans, officially recognizing Nostalgin tartan as an official Scottish tartan!
How brilliant is that!

Our Story

What happens when five strangers meet on a beautiful Scottish island and become fast friends? Why, they decide to launch a gin distillery...of course! A love of this beautiful island, and gin, first brought the five of us together last summer. The idea for a distillery grew from a community discussion to generate ideas to save Millport’s historic Town Hall building, which was closed two years ago. Under the leadership of the Millport Town Hall group, the goal is to save the building with some renovations, alterations and some creative thinking, turning it into a vibrant and sustainable community asset.

What We've Learned

Yup - that was us one year ago, in our comfort zone, waiting for someone else to open a gin distillery in Millport. Today we're in the "magic zone", learning tons, doing a lot of tastings (of course) and having a ball. In forming our distillery, we've realized that at this stage in our lives, we're not done; that this is the best time of our lives to so something challenging, creative...and fun! We hope we can inspire other women, young at heart like us, to be bold and to say YES!  We realized a year ago that with our collective life and career experiences, we had what it takes to start up a distillery for the island! And we're doing it!

Our Distillery Plan

Opening a distillery, as with any new enterprise, is a huge undertaking. We have learned so much in the last year and received amazing support from the community of Millport and beyond. However, in our initial assessment we had not realised the significant cost of licences and inspections required to set up and be able to sell spirits. What this means for us in the short term is that the purchase of our still is on hold; we will distill our gin through another distillery until we can raise enough funds. This is where we need your help and support.

Why We Need Your Support

Our Still

We need your support to purchase our still - the heart of our distillery - which will be named Maura, in honour of the 7th Century patron Saint of Cumbrae, whose statue welcomes visitors as they sail into the bay - another fabulous woman! Maura will be a 100-litre traditional alembic copper still - bold and beautiful! By having our own still in Millport, not only can we create our gin on the island, but we can offer other activities and quickly expand the business with tours, tastings, workshops and special events – activities that will bring visitors to Millport all year round, rain or shine (and in Scotland we know rain!), creating year-round employment for Millportonians.

Student Interns

Your support will also help us fund student internships. We’ve had wonderful news from the Universities of Edinburgh, Stirling and Strathclyde, who have offered us partial funding for seasonal internships; however, we need additional funds to be able to support student research over our first year, in particular. We have lots of work to do to expand our enterprise, to identify businesses that will sell our gin and to find new avenues and partners to bring visitors to the island.

With the help of talented business and tourism students, we hope to create new tourism partnerships, in particular. A fast growing cruise industry through the Port at Greenock, 14 miles away, makes a day excursion to Millport for an island visit, including gin tasting, very realistic. In addition, we plan to tie into North Ayrshire’s new Tourism initiative, the COIG (Gaelic for 5), which will promote tourism and travel along the Clyde coast, North Ayrshire and to the islands of Arran, Bute and Cumbrae.

Our Island

For those who know this wee Scottish Isle of Cumbrae, you'll know it's Scotland's most accessible island, a quick 8-minute ferry ride from the mainland town of Largs. We often hear people remark that during that short ferry journey from Largs to Cumbrae, surrounded by the beauty of the islands and the sea, a transformation takes place and all troubles fade away to feelings of calmness and tranquility. And we want to bottle that experience!

Our Community of Millport

Surrounded by an ever-changing sea and magnificent views of the surrounding islands, Millport embodies the quintessential Scottish island community, a place to escape everyday life and experience a bit of that ‘time stands still’ feeling. Our small island population is fortified by a deep sense of community spirit.


By contributing to our crowdfund, at any level, you are contributing to the future success of a business that can have a huge community impact. Royal Bank of Scotland Back Her Business will match your contribution. 

Help us raise funds for our still and for students. 

Join our adventure and be part of our story! 

We have some great rewards - at all levels - that we are sure you will love. In fact, it may be hard to choose just one!

Thank you for your support

We are very grateful for your support, from all over the world. You are an important part of our story and we look forward to welcoming you to our island distillery. Make sure to visit our website at to join our mailing list and receive periodic updates on our journey. 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£80 or more

33 of 200 claimed

Isle of Cumbrae Distillers Gin Wall of Fame

Become part of our story! Your name will be permanently displayed on our Isle of Cumbrae Distillers Gin Wall of Fame, recognizing YOU as one of our original supporters. This beautifully painted wall by Harry Sutton, will feature a large map of our island, surrounded by copies of his beautiful Cumbrae paintings.

£10 or more

Signature Gin Cocktail Recipe - The Nostalgin

Be one of the first to have the recipe for our signature gin cocktail. Created for us by Master Mixologist Dillon Barrie of Raise the Bar, Glasgow, we've come up with the perfect signature cocktail - You will receive a PDF version of the recipe via email with our sincere thanks for your support.

£25 or more

Set of 4 Bar Coasters

A great addition to any home bar, these coasters, made with our Isle of Cumbrae Distillers logo, are sure to be a great talking piece. We'll mail you a set of four, with a copy of our signature cocktail recipe, with our sincere thanks for your support.

£40 or more

34 of 100 claimed

Pair of Isle of Cumbrae Distillers Tasting Glasses

A pair of Glencairn tasting glasses beautifully inscribed with The Isle of Cumbrae Distillers' logo. Presented in individual gift boxes. We'll also send you a PDF copy of our signature cocktail recipe

£60 or more

6 of 50 claimed

Founders Club

A wonderful way to show your support for our small business. You will receive a 5x7 signed limited edition print of the artwork designed for our signature gin label, as well as updates via email on our progress; be the first to learn about new products; collect gin cocktail recipes; and so much more.

£100 or more

19 of 50 claimed

A Bottle of our First Batch of Nostalgin

Receive a 75cl bottle of our very first batch of Isle of Cumbrae Distillers' signature gin, Nostalgin. It just might be too special to drink! Numbered and signed by our 5 distillers. Available for collection from Millport only. You'll also receive a digital certificate along with a PDF copy of our signature gin cocktail recipe.

£250 or more

8 of 10 claimed

The Gin-credible Supporter Reward

Your name will be permanently displayed on our Isle of Cumbrae Distillers' Gin Wall of Fame. You will also receive a set of 4 of our tasting glasses; a set of 4 matching coasters; a 5x7 signed limited edition of our artwork . Plus, you will receive updates via email on our progress; be the first to learn about new products; collect gin cocktail recipes; and so much more.

£1,000 or more

0 of 2 claimed

The unimaGINable cocktail making experience!

For a group of 10. Join Master Mixologist Dillon Barrie and his team from Raise the Bar Glasgow for the ultimate 4-hour mixology workshop at our distillery. The workshop will start with our signature Nostalgin cocktail, followed by a fun filled afternoon learning how to make (and drink) some fabulous cocktails. Make sure you take the train and ferry to Millport for this one!

£75 or more

45 of 45 claimed

Early Bird Special: Bottle of our First Batch Gin

For the first week of our campaign, we are offering an early bird special. Receive a 75cl bottle of our very first batch of Isle of Cumbrae Distillers' signature gin, Nostalgin. It just might be too special to drink! Numbered and signed by our 5 distillers. Available for collection from Millport only. You'll also receive a digital certificate along with a PDF copy of our signature gin cocktail recipe.

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