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Katie and Michael Morrison

The Isle of Barra Distillers – makers of the award-winning Barra Atlantic Gin – have signed a deal that will see the gin sold at 120 Waitrose & Partners stores across the UK.

“This is a massive vote of confidence in our small island business”, said Managing Director, Michael Morrison, who co-founded the family business with his wife Katie in 2017. 

“To say we are delighted is an understatement.  This is a big moment for our team here on Barra.”

Michael continued: “It has always been a goal of ours to share our story and unique island spirit with as many people as possible.  This deal gives us exposure to hundreds of thousands of shoppers across the UK in one of the country’s premium stores.”

The announcement comes as The Isle of Barra Distillers look to expand their team on the island as they prepare to open the first whisky distillery on Barra.  Planning permission was granted in December 2022 and construction of the £12m distillery is due to start later this year.

Co-founder Katie Morrison said: “The progress we’ve made since we decided to set up the business six years ago has been amazing.  It reflects the quality of the product, the passion and commitment of our small team and the fantastic support we’ve had from the community here on Barra.”

When complete in 2025, the new distillery will be the most westerly in Scotland and able to produce 550,000 bottles of whisky per year, employing up to 41 people, providing a significant boost to the island’s economy.  

Waitrose & Partners chooses a select number of high-quality suppliers from across the country to ensure its customers have access to the best produce available.  Waitrose & Partners were awarded ‘Spirits Retailer of the Year' at the Spirit Business Awards in 2022.

The first bottles of Barra Atlantic Gin will be available on Waitrose shelves from January 2023.  The 120 stores represent around a third of Waitrose UK total.

Isle of Barra Distillers was founded in 2017 by islanders Michael and Katie Morrison.  Their first spirit, Barra Atlantic Gin, has won multiple awards including Gold in The Spirits Business Global Spirits Masters and Silver in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The team were also awarded Sales Team of the Year at the Scottish Gin Awards. In 2022, the company introduced Island Dark Rum and plans to release details of its first premium malt whisky in the near future, following the recent approval of planning for its new distillery.  The business currently employs six people.