Gordon & MacPhail unveils The Cairn

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Gordon & MacPhail has unveiled the brand for its new distillery being built in the Cairngorms National Park.

The distillery is to be named The Cairn, reflecting its stunning location overlooking the Cairngorm mountains, at the gateway to Speyside

The family owned whisky specialists were granted planning permission for the new distillery last year and work started on site in July this year. 

Unveiling the new brand Ian Chapman, Brands Director said: “We have put the consumer right at the heart of the process of creating the brand, as we have with the design of the distillery itself. We wanted to make sure it was clearly Scottish, but easy for consumers to pronounce and to spell. This will be particularly important for our international markets when English is not the first language. 

“We also had to be mindful of Benromach, our other distillery. We wanted the new brand to complement, not compete.” 


Benromach is positioned as a traditional, hand crafted brand so the new brand had to broadly occupy more contemporary territory. 

Working with Glasgow based branding agency Good, the company cast its net wide looking for ideas for a name, asking staff and shareholders for suggestions.  More than 300 ideas were eventually whittled down to a shortlist which met select criteria. 

As well as the name, the identity needed to have icons and graphical elements to make it unmistakable for non-English speaking consumers. An icon has been developed to symbolise the brand; the fragmented shape representing the coming together of many pieces to form a cairn.  The typography used for the words “The Cairn” is ultra-modern and premium, yet it is complemented by the use of a Serif font for the word “Distillery” to represent contemporary craft cues that imply heritage and legacy. 

Ian Chapman added; “The brand is eye-catching and contemporary and the approach to develop it put the consumer at the centre of our thinking. It is the same approach we have taken to designing The Cairn Distillery itself. The modern building takes advantage of the outstanding views across the River Spey to the Cairngorms and has been designed with the customer at the centre of the experience.” 

Scheduled to open in spring 2022, The Cairn Distillery will include a visitor experience, tasting rooms, retail space and coffee shop.

Tags: Cairngorms National ParkGordon & MacPhailSpeysideThe Cairn
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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