In 2018, water scarcity forced a number of Scottish distilleries to halt production for the first time in modern history. Facing future climate events, the industry turned its attention to its own carbon footprint, targeting net zero by 2045. But on the East Coast, one distillery made a discovery that could change how the industry operates forever.
Nestled deep within the rugged landscape of Scotland, on the East Coast, lies the Arbikie farm and distillery. This is where Arbikie are going back to where it all began: back to the soil, making the revolutionary decision to create a spirit from the humble pea. Founded on the research of their Master Distiller, Kirsty, Arbikie took a leap of faith to turn her laboratory experiments into a commercial reality, producing the world’s first climate positive spirit.
Inter-rotating pea crops with traditional cereals returns crucial nitrates to the soil without the need for artificial treatment. Kirsty found that those peas, instead of going to waste, can be used to create climate positive spirits – a previously unheard-of change in the very traditional Scottish distillery industry.
This film tells a story of trailblazing innovation, a ground-breaking tectonic shift in Scottish farm practices. But it doesn’t forget that this cutting-edge discovery is powered by real people. We crafted this film with a delicacy; this is a distillery that lovingly nurtures their products from the soil all the way through to bottling. It deserved a thoughtfulness, a sincerity, warming the science with a human touch. That’s why we let our film linger on the people at its heart, guiding agricultural and industrial visuals with authentic and genuine interviews and voice over.
We brought this same ethos into post-production as well, choosing to colour grade our footage with soft, earthy tones that let the rich hues of the farm speak for itself. Of course, when shooting in a location as stunning as this, we had to capture those dramatic, sweeping vistas of shimmering fields and rolling ocean, but we enriched that with extreme close-ups, capturing the powdery skin of veined peas, the grains of dirt pressed into the whorls of a fingertip – an obvious choice for a company that confronts global climate pressures with the power of a single pea.
In the film, Kirsty explains that everything that takes place on a tiny scale in the laboratory is replicated exactly on an enormous scale in the distillery. Our editors mirrored that dynamic relationship, cutting between the two spaces to hold them in balance, each informing the other, following the thread of that vibrant green liquid as it binds the two parallel journeys together.
Filming in these spaces did pose a challenge for our crew. By nature, a farm and distillery is a constantly moving machine, a 24 hour operation. As such, our team had to film in a way that was unobtrusive, unable to construct scenes or ask for second takes. It demanded flexibility on another level; rising with the farmers to capture the harvest, spontaneously finding the best angle to capture something that is only happening once. To film in those conditions, without interrupting the day-to-day processes, while still finding those cinematic, visually stunning moments, is a true credit to our team.
While the full-length film has not yet been released, a cut-down was shown at COP26 to a fantastic reception. It is Arbikie’s hope that this film can help shape new practices within the industry, urging other distilleries to find new ways of creating more sustainable, climate positive spirits.