Producer’s Corner: Kim Cameron from Gin Bothy

She’s known for her all-conquering gin which she started by accident from her kitchen in Kirriemuir, Angus. 

But now Gin Bothy owner Kim Cameron is turning her hand to butter-making, in a bid to keep a centuries old tradition alive. 

When Kim heard her local dairy was closing earlier this year, she knew she had to do something to save the area’s butter production. 

Kim feared that if butter-making ground to a halt now, it would be lost forever. 

In a bid to keep the local tradition alive, Kim snapped up North Street Dairy’s 45-year-old family recipe and decided to turn her hand to making butter. 

The dairy closed its doors after 104 years and the owner, Hamish Millar, now supports Kim after she acquired the recipe and the family butter churner. 

Gin Bothy has become one of Scotland’s best known premium gin and rum brands producing over 65,000 units each year sold across the UK and exported internationally.

Kim is now adding the butter to her repertoire alongside her gin and homemade jams and marmalades.


Credit: Alan Richardson.

‘It sounds like a bit of a curve ball to start making butter, but it really isn’t when you think about putting it with our jam,’ said Kim.

‘When I heard the dairy was going to close I knew I had to do something. 

‘It was the last remaining operational dairy in our area and had been open for more than 100 years.

‘I wanted to keep buttermaking alive in the local area. I knew if we lost it now, in this generation, we would never get it back.

‘I decided that I would buy the butter machine and the recipes and we would add the butter to our food portfolio of production.

‘It wouldn’t have been a business that would have been able to survive in its own right, but if we brought it under our other products it was a way of keeping it going.

‘Hamish has now worked with us since January, sharing his knowledge and the recipe and all the technicalities of butter.’

It’s produced less than a mile from Forfar’s historic Buttermarket area, a marketplace for Angus producers. 

The butter comes in salted, unsalted, and Scottish salted which will be made with Blackthorn Salt, the world’s only working thorn tower in Ayr.

And in time for Christmas Kim is also launching a rum butter, made from Gin Bothy’s own premium rum.

It’s all made by hand, with 28 blocks produced at a time. 

‘It is a time consuming process making it by hand, from start to finish it takes about two hours,’ said Kim.

‘It’s made with only two ingredients, cream and salt. We source cream as locally as we can which is really important to the provenance of the product.

‘The butter is churned and then we rinse out the butter milk and press the butter into cylinders, which we weigh into 250g blocks.

‘It gets wrapped in parchment paper and can then be kept in the fridge for 18 days or frozen.

‘The butter is lovely and creamy and adding the Blackthorn Salt to the Scottish salted gives it a real crunch.’

Kim has been inundated with requests from other producers who want to use Scottish butter in their own products.

‘The majority of butter that’s used within the baking industry in Scotland is made from Irish butter,’ she said.

‘But there is a demand for Scottish butter.’

For Kim, it’s all about making the most of what the land has to offer. She follows the seasonal calendar and supports local farmers in the area with her gin production.

Credit: Alan Richardson.

‘The provenance of our products and the importance of buying Scottish is fundamental to the business,’ Kim said.

‘The knock on effects of buying local and using local ingredients is what’s going to keep our rural economies alive.

‘I am a massive advocate for Scottish produce, and it’s really important that the next generation understand what fantastic products Scotland has and we should be proud of it.’

Former dairy owner Hamish Millar is thrilled to be helping Kim. 

The fact his family legacy will live on through a butter recipe devised by his mum and grandmother Frances McLeod, fills him with pride.

The recipe started 45 years ago in our family kitchen,’ he said,

‘My grandmother and mother worked on it. They had surplus cream and put it in the food mixer to see what happened.

‘It tasted delicious so we decided to bring it out. It became very popular with our customers in a niche market.

‘I’m excited to see the family recipe will continue and Kim is the perfect person to take it on. 

‘We’ve helped Kim with the recipe and she’s now got our butter churner to make it.

‘I know she’ll make a success of it. Kim is passionate about everything she does. 

‘She throws herself fully into every project, every product and has established her business.

‘Kim is adding her own imprint to make Bothy Butter. 

‘The use of Blackthorn Salt is a really clever adaptation, it gives a lovely kick to the butter and will still maintain the traditional core recipe that our customers loved.’

Don’t miss the January issue of Scottish Field magazine.