Oban Gin: The Last Six Months – Part 1
Earlier this year, I carried out an in-depth dissection of the debacle behind Oban Gin. People in my home town had been asking questions about it for months – if not years – due to the lack of progress with the product and the general confusion around it.
What started off as one blog post become an entire week’s worth, comprising over 4,000 words. I knew it would strike a chord with some people but I never realised to what extent. The hits on the story went through the roof and I had people contacting me from all over Scotland who had very kind things to say about my work, as well as contributing additional pieces to the puzzle.
However, unlike most good stories, Oban Gin didn’t really have an end. People were asking where things would go from there. But I was all out of information and Mr Robertson still hadn’t produced any gin. Well, six months later, it’s time to pick up the story again.
When I posted my first blog during that fateful week, it’s safe to say that Mr Robertson wasn’t impressed. He got in touch threatening to set his make-believe lawyers on me (remember the cease and desist order copy and pasted from the internet?).
But by the end of the week, he’d been back in touch to say that hits to the website had been “through the roof” and that there’s “no such thing as bad press”. Erm, did he read any of the blogs?!
Mr Robertson made an attempt at a rebuttal here, but just like the content from his various social media channels, this has now been purged from the internet.
It would be unfair of me not to point out the progress which Mr Robertson has made since February. In March, he entered his premises (FYI, someone let me know if any of these links don’t work or posts disappear, as I’ve screenshots of everything). Progress was slow but steady, with casks also arriving for the oak aged gin. Things went very quiet over the summer, until last Friday, when he uploaded a picture of a now completed distillery.
Confusingly, the Facebook page says that he’s ready to distil, but this Tweet gives the impression that now his set-up his complete, he’ll be moving the entire thing…to Oban!!!
And, news just in! Today, Mr Robertson appears to have received approval from HMRC.
A few other bits of information emerged over the summer. In July, he unveiled a new bottle design. And despite still having never produced a single drop of gin for public consumption, he’s offering pre-orders on the next batch. Interestingly, the Google Form for pre-ordering offers a discount on six bottles i.e. a case. However, such multi-buy discounts were made illegal under changes to the Scottish licencing laws in 2011.
Also, in August, Mr Robertson claimed to have passed a sample bottle to Edinburgh’s Tigerlily. However, I’ve been unable to confirm whether this actually exists.
So – STILL no gin!
Rather than delivering Oban Gin to people who parted with their money a year ago, Mr Robertson has actually been busy diversifying his business in recent months. But this blog has been long enough, so you’ll have to come back on Thursday for another update.