DeliQuescent gin is a specialist micro-batch spirit producer in Kelso within the micropub Rutherford’s, the first micropub in Scotland. Run by husband and wife team, Simon and Debbie Rutherford, they have won several awards for their innovative products and business style and more recently as CAMRA’s Best Pub in the Borders this year.

A display of the awards won by Rutherford's micropub
A display of the awards won by Rutherford’s micropub

Rutherford’s is situated in the middle of Kelso Town Centre. The iconic, large market square consists of many local shops around the cobbled car park. When sitting outside Rutherford’s you can also peer through the buildings to see part of the majestic Kelso Abbey, which dates back to around the 12th Century.

Rutherford's is in the centre of the beautiful market town of Kelso
Rutherford’s is in the centre of the beautiful market town of Kelso

Rutherford’s is the antidote to modern life. Whilst there, it was great to chat to some of the locals who frequent the pub, and also those who were there to start their Christmas shopping getting a special offer on the newly released Christmas gins.

In the micropub, there are no electronic distractions: no gaming machines, no TV, no blaring music. It is the perfect place to have a relaxed conversation. The walls are a warm red and are covered in eccentric artworks; a feast for the eyes.

The busy micropub's walls are filled with eccentric artworks
The busy micropub’s walls are filled with eccentric artworks

Debbie greeted me upon arrival and was an excellent and friendly hostess. I tucked myself into a corner, a prime position for people watching and picture taking, and chatted to some of the regulars while we sampled the new Christmas gins and bar snacks that Rutherford’s has to offer including mini gin-soaked Christmas puds and home-smoked Applewood cheese.

Applewood-smoked cheese and a wee taste of Christmas Pudding Gin
Applewood-smoked cheese and a wee taste of Christmas Pudding Gin

Now to the new gins, the Christmas Pudding gin was warming and fruity. It had a hint of sweetness which did not overpower the liqueur. The GINgerbread was a magical sight. Debbie swirled the bottle in front of me and showed the shimmering gold tints within the gin.

The magical golden swirls of the GINgerbread gin
The magical golden swirls of the GINgerbread gin

It looked very Christmassy and had a delicious warmth on the palate, perfect for the winter season. Gingle Bells, a full-strength gin, was served with tonic that complimented the orange and lemon notes in the gin. It was a refreshing twist and a necessary drink for gin lovers this winter!

How did your business begin? Can you tell us your history/origin story?

DeliQuescent was borne out of a real drive for gins with a difference at our Micropub in Kelso. Our customers said they were getting tired of regular gins with a ‘hint of this’ and a ‘whiff of that’. They wanted something totally new and unique. So we devised a range that gave the saturated market something fresh, new and innovative. We actually describe our Cherry Bakewell Gin Liqueur as ‘cake in your face’! Now we’ve gained experience and confidence, we have added some really innovative new styles that even shimmer! We both love cooking and experimenting with flavours too, so DeliQuescent was a natural progression.

Simon has been a self-employed graphic designer and photographer for over 30 years, so we are really lucky to have his skills on-tap.

What values are at the heart of your business?

Fun! DeliQuescent is a real passion for Simon and me, and we love working together. We’ve run our own businesses together for 18 years now, and we still love coming up with new ideas and plans together. In everything we do, we want quality and style to be at the forefront. Sometimes it’s difficult to hold the ideas back, but we are driven by our own enthusiasm and know that we are the best team when we work together.

Simon showing me Rutherford's company car: the beautiful Monica the Dodge Monaco!
Simon showing me Rutherford’s company car: the beautiful Monica the Dodge Monaco!

What does your product range include?

Our gins change seasonally. We have recently launched our Christmas range and had a special launch event on Saturday 20th October. The range includes:

  • Gingle Bells (which is a St Clements oranges and lemons)
  • Christmas Pudding Gin Liqueur
  • Glowing GINgerbread.
We 3 gins: DeliQuescent's seasonal gin range
We 3 gins: DeliQuescent’s seasonal gin range

We also offer:

  • Shimmering Parma Violet
  • Grapefruit, Lime and Lemongrass
  • Rose (which changes colour from a soft gold to bright pink when tonic is added)
  • Cherry Bakewell Gin Liqueur
  • Rhubarb and Elderflower Gin Liqueur
A selection of DeliQuescent spirits
A selection of DeliQuescent spirits

And our signature juniper-led gin with a hint of pink grapefruit:

  • Chi Qui Oui Gin
A 'ChiQuiOui' Gin on draught from the quirky microscope tap.
A ‘ChiQuiOui’ Gin on draught from the quirky microscope tap.

We love seeing people trying to work out how to pronounce that… and then see the smile on their face when they do!

We have some brand new flavours coming in the New Year, and, of course, the return of our very popular Hot Cross Bun Gin at Easter.

Where can people buy your products?

They can buy them all from Rutherfords Micropub in Kelso (which recently won the Business award for the Most Innovative Business in Scotland, as well as CAMRA’s Borders Pub of the year) or also online at www.deliquescent.co.uk.

How can your customers enjoy your product at its best?

Popping into the pub is always a great experience, as we serve the gins from dispensing jars, and can advise customers direct what mixes best with each one.

The casks change regularly and there's an array of DeliQuescent flavours to try!
The casks change regularly and there’s an array of DeliQuescent flavours to try!

How are you involved in the local food/drink producer community?

We are stallholders at the fantastic Kelso Farmers Market every month, which was recently voted the best Farmers Market in Scotland. You will also see us popping up at several local Christmas Markets, including Paxton House.

How does your location influence your business and product range?

We are in the unique position of being able to speak directly to our customers and potential customers at our Micropub. We often give samples for customer feedback, and also ask what they would like. Some of the suggestions are quite crazy, but I am tempted to try… a Marmite Gin!

Why do you think people should shop locally?

Shopping local is more important than ever before now with the economic climate the way it is. It’s important to keep communities alive and lively, and it’s also much more interesting to be able to chat directly with the maker. For both customer and business.

What is your favourite local food or drink?

It’s really hard to choose, but we are loving local brew Left Field Kombucha – and it’s a great alternative for drivers who still want to enjoy something delicious. There are so many fabulous food producers in the Borders, and we are so lucky to enjoy a great range of organic meats and fine fish. The delicious pork and game pies we sell in Rutherford’s from Foreman’s the Butchers always go down really well – although it’s hard not to tuck in when they are delivered still warm!

DeliQuescent Gin & Tonic and Foreman's Pie
DeliQuescent Gin & Tonic and Foreman’s Pie

How could Foodful help promote your business?

We’re delighted to have the opportunity to speak to a wider audience through Foodful, as it’s a vibrant, colourful and interesting directory with really topical articles. Thank you!

Hat-tip to the Producers

Thank you to Rutherford’s for the warm welcome Foodful received when we visited. This is definitely a place I will visit again soon!

The Rutherford family provide a warm welcome to their micropub in Kelso
The Rutherford family provide a warm welcome to their micropub in Kelso

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