In small island towns and villages, it’s the independent businesses which bring life to the Outer Hebridean high street.
We don’t tend to attract the big retail names and shop chains, probably due to distance and population demographics, so there’s never a Starbucks or Sainsbury’s in sight.
So, when the Island Spirit Whisky Shop opened in Stornoway in the spring of 2020 we were delighted to find husband and wife team Iain and Mary bringing some brilliant drams closer to our shores.
Despite facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and local lockdowns they remained undeterred, starting a home delivery service and telling their stories on social media.
By July their doors were open to the public and they were soon busy dealing directly with distilleries across the country as an official stockist of beautiful bottles of whisky, gin, rum, and more.
One of these distilleries was our own!
It all began with a visit to the distillery here in Tarbert and a meeting with Peter Kwasniewski who was happy to sign up and supply them with Isle of Harris Gin
Although located ‘across the border’ in neighbouring Isle of Lewis, there is a real connection between us and their team, who we now consider good friends.
Iain tells us…
“We are very proud to partner with the Isle of Harris Distillery and to be able to sell one of Scotland’s finest gins produced right here in the Western Isles.”
“It’s our bestselling product and the fact that it has been an award-winning gin, year after year, contributes very highly to its appeal in-store too. Its reputation for quality, amazing branding and story are also key to its success with us.”
The Island Spirit Whisky Shop's story is a testament to the resilience and power of partnership. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, they’ve found a way to adapt and thrive and are now a firm fixture for us when we visit the harbour town.
Our two businesses share a love for quality and a commitment to their local communities, making it a pretty perfect pairing.
If you’re in Stornoway this summer, be sure to pop in to see them in their wonderful wee shop. There are spirits galore from ceiling to floor and a wealth of knowledge ready to be shared by the owners.
Slainte to this great island small business!