Q & A with Martin Murray, Founder of Rock Rose Gin

by May 15, 2024

What do you love most about the brand you’ve created? 

We’ve created 3 brands including Dunnet Bay Distillers since we built the distillery and I love the way the designs and botanicals reflect the story.  Local stories are fading away and it’s great to use our brands to tell them.

Have you always wanted to work in this industry?

I loved brewing and distilling when I was at university and wanted to work in the industry 20 years ago.  At the time there were no jobs in the field, so I had to do a detour via the Oil and Gas Industry.  In all honesty, I loved my time in this industry as I was lucky to work with some brilliant people on interesting projects.

What are you most proud of? 

I am really proud of seeing our product in some of the best bars in the world, but more than that I am proud that we’ve created opportunities for people in our local area.

What advice would you give to someone keen to start a business but unsure where to begin?

Trust your gut instinct and don’t settle for “it’s always done this way”. 

Who is one of your biggest inspirations – either professionally or personally?

My two old managers at BP were brilliant.  Matt Sims and Graeme Chapman taught me so much during my time there.

They were both brilliant at their work, but also could do it with a smile and a sense of humour. They also trusted me and challenged me in the project and that did a lot for my confidence.

If you could attribute your success to anyone who gave you your big break?

James Taylor and Stephen Rankin at Gordon & MacPhail helped us learn about spirits distribution and took a gamble on us as Scottish gin wasn’t a thing back in 2014.

We had incredible success together in the early years and we still have a great relationship 10 years on.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

Elon Musk was right that starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss!  I think the two hardest things are dealing with all the things that aren’t working or problems that come up that others can’t deal with.  Then there is the worry and stress.  Even after 10 years I still worry that it will all be taken away from us and that if we make a mistake we could lose everything.  That’s even more pronounced now with our mill project!

Which part of your job do you most enjoy?

I love the challenge and the opportunities our business has brought.  I day dreamed about the mill for so long and here we are building it into a whisky distillery. We’ve also been fortunate to meet some great people through the years.

Do you find it easy to balance work and play?

I’ve improved a lot in this area.  I didn’t really look after myself that well or switch off in the early years.  That was fine though, as the business was in an exciting phase and we were new to the industry. Now we have disciplined cut offs so that we get proper down time and quality time with the children. In the last 5 years I’ve improved my exercise, diet and meditate to help me deal with things.  It has helped more than I can put into words and I have the Huberman Lab to thank for that.

About Emily Eaves

Co Founder and Editor at To Work or Play, Emily has been Freelance Copywriting for over 10 years. She is passionate about food, drink, travel, design and finding ways to keep her two children out of trouble.

With a background in Luxury Restaurant and Hotel PR, Emily moved from London to Dorset in 2019. She now spends weekends at the beach and daydreams about her vegetable garden.