Bere barley, the original Viking crop brought to Scotland around 800AD, is being grown on the Islay for the first time in living memory by Bruichladdich distillery.
The variety suits Islay’s short growing season, poor soil, long daylight hours.
To celebrate the link, a 75ft replica of a Viking long boat and authentically dressed crew arrived unexpectedly at the distillery.
Managing director Mark Reynier commented: “I couldn’t believe my eyes... I thought I must have had one too many.”
Gaia Skipper Bjarne Hovland commented: “The Gaia network works towards a better environment and sustainable development. Bruichladdich, with its organic whisky programme, now augmented by Viking Bere barley brought here by our forefathers, fits that bill and is certainly worth the detour.”