Ex-Crew Couple Launch Gin Brand 'Palma Gin'

26 November 2019 By Laura Dunn

After a couple years of research, Byron and Amber Holland opened Mallorca Distillery in 2018, the first small craft distillery in Palma, Mallorca. The former crewmembers have worked together since meeting in 2010 as crew aboard 92-foot S/Y Dark Star, so opening a distillery together wasn’t as much a risk as it was a natural progression.

After working aboard 42-meter M/Y Calliope for a few years, they started missing family and friends and decided to transition back onto land. Although they first opened a restaurant bar in the center of Edinburgh, Scotland, specializing in Belgian beer, it was too cold, so they sold their restaurant and moved to the Mediterranean where they started over in Palma, one of their favorite places in the world.

“Being involved in the alcohol industry during our time in Edinburgh, we saw the rise of the craft distilling revolution, seeing some great gins emerging onto the market first-hand,” says Byron. “This is where we really started to research gin, the flavors, botanicals, and the distillation process, which then became a new passion of ours.”

Eventually, though he took a few jobs as a dayworker until leaving yachting permanently in 2016, they opened up their current distillery. (Shortly before it opened, they gave birth to their daughter Amelia in March 2018.) “This coincided perfectly with the installation and setup of the distillery in April 2018, which proved to be an extremely challenging task for us both!” says Byron. They opened Mallorca Distillery in June 2018 and launched their first product, Palma Gin, in September 2018. Since then, they’ve also launched two more products, Palma Oak Aged Spiced Gin (which started as a Christmas limited edition that was so popular, they permanently added it to their portfolio) and Organic Vodka in Mallorca.

“Mallorca Distillery was founded upon a determination to encompass the best of the island and express that in the look, feel, and taste of our products,” Byron says. Aside from enjoying one of their award-winning beers, you can entertain yourself in other ways, such as doing a distillery tour and making your own gin cocktails that you can take home.

“The first year of becoming new parents and opening a business was definitely a rollercoaster,” Byron recalls. “It was definitely tough at times but setting up Mallorca Distillery has also allowed us a freedom to do something we love. The most rewarding part now is coming home every evening to my family and not having to work away.”