They say luck only exists if you create it yourself. And no-one understands that better than Claire Fletcher, Alicia MacInnes and Georgina Kitching.
With limited job opportunities on Jura, the island they call home, the three friends and neighbours decided to make something for themselves.
And while it might be an island steeped in centuries of whisky making, these three women set out to put Jura on the gin map.
Born out of love of the landscape, their community, and of course, gin, the three women began Lussa Gin 2015.
‘We have all lived in Jura for a long time, we were neighbours on the North end of the island where the community is very small and it’s pretty remote,’ said Claire.
‘There aren’t many job opportunities on the island, especially for women, and we wanted to create something for ourselves.
‘We all came from different backgrounds and had a pretty diverse skill set, but we shared a love for the island, growing things, and of course gin.
‘We set up the distillery in 2015 and made our first bottle the following year.
‘Sustainability is key to everything we do, we knew we wanted everything that goes into a bottle of our gin to be grown on Jura.’
Nine years later they now produce 10,000 bottles a year which are sold all over the world, from Germany to America.
‘While the island is known for it’s whisky, we hope we can put Jura on the gin map,’ Claire said.
‘Whisky has a very different demographic, it’s male dominated. I think with gin the clientele is much more diverse and there is wider appeal.’
The remoteness of their distillery can make things more difficult, and being two ferries away from the mainland means it’s crucial for the Lussa ladies to be self-sufficient.
It means the 15 botanicals that go into their gin, from juniper to lemon thyme, are grown by the women or foraged for on the island.
‘We are two ferries away from the mainland, so getting things in and out can be really challenging for us, and the issues with the ferries continues to affect our business,’ Claire said.
‘The chaos last summer was particularly bad. We have a French bottler who got so fed up with the ferries they threatened to leave our bottles in Glasgow for us to have to pick up.
‘That’s why it’s so important that we are able to grow and forage all the ingredients here on the island. Over the summer we hire extra pairs of hands to help with the foraging and the locals chip in too.
‘We are self-sufficient in 11 of the 15 ingredients that go into the gin.
‘There are a lot of citrus fruits in gin, but obviously we couldn’t grow our own lemon on orange trees so we use lemon thyme.
‘Juniper is of course the main ingredient and we are not quite self sufficient in it yet. We still need to get in a bit extra, but hopefully soon it will all be from right here on Jura.
‘We have planted 500 juniper around the Lussa Glen and they take years to mature, but we are starting to get use of them now.’
Once picked, the ingredients are frozen, to make sure there is enough for production for the year ahead.
‘Most distilleries use dry ingredients but what makes us unique is once we harvest the ingredients we freeze them and distill from frozen,’ said Claire
‘It gives a much lighter and more aromatic flavored gin.’
At cooler temperatures you can actually see the botanical oils as a faint haze in the bottle, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see a flash of them when you add tonic.
Claire likes her Lussa Gin with a sprig of lemon balm, a neutral tonic and ice, while Georgina enjoys hers with soda water, ice and a fragrant rose petal, and Alicia takes hers neat, on the rocks with a sliver of lemon.