An Introduction to The Gin Cooperative

Say Hello to Natalie & Martin Reid, founders of The Gin Cooperative.

Published: 23rd April 2018

Our Background… 

First and foremost we’re gin drinkers. We’ve been drinking gin for the last decade. During this time, we’ve been drawn to more and more Scottish Gins. The Gin Cooperative came about because of our love of gin and in particular Scottish Gin. It’s an idea that we’d spoken about way back in 2013 on holiday and more recently when we bought gin as Christmas presents. We thought it was made in Scotland. Turned out it wasn’t. We felt there was an opportunity to provide more clarity to help gin drinkers and the consumer discover Scottish Gin.

We thought the best solution would be to create a website that could showcase all the Scottish Gin makers by providing them each with an individual profile that could tell their story and showcase their products along with links to their website and social media pages, events and their latest news stories. We also wanted to create a website and network of social media pages that would promote Scottish Gin using our own original, rich content as well as content that was provided by the gin makers.

For us, ‘Scottish Gin’ means that it has been distilled here in Scotland, but almost as importantly, it has to be promoted and marketed as Scottish Gin. You can read more about our view on this topic on our website, see our feature ‘What is a Scottish Gin?’ in the News & Features section.

In late December 2017, Natalie Reid, one of the founding partners, decided to follow through with her dream of starting a business that combined her skills and experience in marketing, branding and business development along with her love of Scottish Gin, leaving the oil & gas industry after 15 years. Along with her husband Martin Reid, who has worked as a graphic designer for the last 17 years, 9 of which has been spent running his successful design and advertising studio.  In January 2018, The Gin Cooperative was officially established.

After a few intensive months of writing content, shooting photos, meeting gin makers, speaking with stakeholders, both here in Scotland and on the other side of the world, we’re incredibly proud to let you all know our website is now live.

We have tried to do something unique, beautiful and curated and crafted for all the Scottish Gin makers, regardless of how popular, how many litres they produce or the size of their marketing budgets. We firmly believe that every Scottish Gin maker plays a crucial role in telling the bigger story of Scottish Gin and hence we’ve treated one and all as equally important. 

Our website has been built from the ground up using a custom layout and design that we created. The website has been coded and developed by local website developer Grant Rattray at Zulo, who has been a real pleasure to work with. We think he’s done a fantastic job and provided some insightful ideas into the project as it’s grown and developed – we think we might even have convinced him he needs to start drinking more Scottish Gin just to show his support for the Scottish Gin makers and The Gin Cooperative! We might be a little biased but we think the website looks great on both desktop and mobile devices!

This project has enabled us to meet brilliant, innovative, hardworking and genuine people who took big risks because they wanted to capture their own stories and create new experiences. Scottish Gin makers and drinks producers play a vital role in supporting the economy, but are also some of the best ambassadors for promoting their local regions of Scotland and really giving a first hand insight into local folklore and legends, a history of their area, an understanding of the local landscape, fauna and botanicals – this experience has provided the best history, geography and nature lessons!

The Scottish Gin makers have captured all this amazing knowledge and put it into their gin, with their botanicals, branding and packaging capturing some of this magic and adding their own chapter to the Scottish Gin story. We feel very grateful and humbled that over the course of developing the website we were met with enthusiasm, support, kind words and help from a wide range of individuals, businesses, organisations, gin makers, tonic makers, bar owners, marketing teams, brand ambassadors and more.

We very much look forward to having a voice and playing a positive role in contributing to the Scottish Gin story and welcome all feedback and input regarding our website. We want to ensure we stay true to our original goal of promoting only Scottish Gins that are distilled here in Scotland, and although we’ve carried out a sustained period of due diligence and research, including speaking directly with the gin makers, we have not been able to verify distillation location first hand by visiting each of the Scottish Gin makers and have therefore made decisions based on the information we have gathered.

A website is only as good as it’s content, and we’ve tried to make all the content shine. We hope we’ve created a website that will tell the consumer the story of Scottish Gin. The website will continue to grow and develop as the world of Scottish Gin continues to grow and develop, but for now, here’s what you won’t and, more importantly, will, find on our website.

The Website: What you won’t find…

You won’t find Gordon’s and Tanqueray (sorry folks!). We feel neither actually promote themselves as Scottish Gins and knowing that the production of both was moved to Scotland in the 1990’s for business reasons, it didn’t make sense for us to include them, or try to brand them as Scottish Gins. They’re both great gins, and some would say the gatekeepers of gin. The brands that have laid the foundations and path for where we are now with the exciting world of gin, and we agree. Their part in the story of gin can’t be ignored and nor should it be. 70% of gin that is made in the UK is made here in Scotland, and we appreciate that Gordon’s and Tanqueray represent a considerable proportion of that gin. The jobs and economic benefits that these brands have brought to Scotland also can’t be overlooked, and we value the contributions that the staff and workers at these giants of gin make to ensure that these brands are continually found in any ‘best gins in the world’ listings.

You won’t find gin reviews. We want the consumer to discover Scottish Gin and taste and learn for themselves. After all, not everyone has the same taste. We don’t have the professional training, experience or palettes to even dare say we’re gin reviewers. There are many experienced people out there with the taste buds and noses to do gin reviews justice. We encourage the consumer to decide for themselves what gins they like the sound and look of and let them do the exploring.

You won’t find gins that have been created for specific events, societies or hotels and bars. These types of gins are something we are looking at for the next phase of our website so watch this space.

The Website: What you will find…

Scottish Gin Maker Profiles

Individual profiles for each Scottish Gin maker and distillery who produce their gin here in Scotland. We’ve got 70 Scottish Gin makers along with over 150 Scottish Gins, each individually profiled! Find out their stories with our bios, most of which we’ve written from scratch, to give a glimpse of who the people are behind the gins, what moments in their lives have shaped where they are now, and how the local Scottish landscape and mother nature has played an integral role in developing their gins. You can also find links to what events they’re attending and links to their website and social media pages so be sure to go and follow, like and share. All this with beautiful, high-quality images and graphics. We wanted to make sure each profile looked it’s very best and let the gin makers story, branding and products shine.

Tonics & Mixers

World class tonics and mixers profiles for some of the world’s most respected companies and brands. We worked hard to ensure, as well as the very best Scottish Gins, we could also provide a go-to resource for consumers looking to discover more about the very best tonics and mixers. With 23 and counting tonic makers, including household names, we’ve also brought you some other brands from out with the UK, well known and respected for their dedication to crafting superior, quality products including Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. from the USA, 3/4 oz. Tonic Maison from Canada, Swedish Tonic from Sweden and a whole lot more. We wanted to make sure that your Scottish Gin journey is filled with adventure, experimentation and most importantly, fun!

News & Features

A News and features section that will provide original Scottish Gin editorial content created by The Gin Cooperative, with an informative and engaging style. We want to make sure that our visitors discover Scottish Gin content that helps them learn more about Scotland’s spirits sector and the people who make it what it is. We will also be publishing a variety of news stories that we receive from Scottish Gin makers, ensuring we can help continue to tell the current movements from the world of Scottish Gin.

Cocktails

Beautiful and delicious cocktails based on some of the world’s best cocktail recipes. We’ve researched and looked at some of the more overlooked cocktails or recipes that we thought ‘yeah we could make that’, without it involving having to buy in a truckload of ingredients – simple, enjoyable and different. We’ve also included simple serving suggestions to provide some inspiration for your next Scottish gin & tonic.

Events

We have created a simplified gin events page that covers the whole of the UK. There are many brilliant gin events across the UK that feature a selection of Scottish Gins, so we wanted to make sure everyone in the UK has an opportunity to discover more about Scottish Gin.

Bars

Our bars section provides both a local and international flavour to our website. We want to engage with a global gin audience, and what better way than to let them see what some of the best gin bars in the world look like. What these bars’ founding principles are in regards to gin. How some of these bars are at the forefront of bar culture and how some of these bars started cocktail bar culture. We are thrilled to say that when we spoke with the stakeholders featured in our bars section and explained what The Gin Cooperative was about, who we were, our goals of creating exposure and raising awareness of the many great Scottish Gin makers, we were met with support, care and attention.

Featuring some of the most respected, loved and admired gin bars in the world, we hope we’ve managed to capture some of the magic that surrounds them. The Dead Rabbit in New York, voted the best bar in the world 2015 and 2016. The Clumsies in Athens, Origin in Hong Kong, Whitechapel in San Fransisco, Bar 71 in Edinburgh and Glasgow, our very own Grape & Grain here in Aberdeen along with many, many more. With detailed and insightful bios for each bar from Atlas Bar in Singapore with the stunning drinks tower housing over one thousand gins, to the American Bar at The Savoy, voted best bar in the world in 2017, we really have tried to make sure our audience can see for themselves the diverse and wonderful world of gin and how Scottish Gin has its own role to play in shaping the modern gin renaissance.

Free Downloadable Scottish Gin Map

We wanted to give the consumer a resource they could use off-line, that could easily be shared via email and stored on their device for reference. We’ve created a free, high-resolution interactive Scottish Gin map at A1 size. We wanted to make it free so the consumer has a chance to start their journey of exploration and discovery of Scottish Gin without having to pay for it. We believe we have created the most extensive, and largest at A1 size, Scottish Gin map, for what we consider makes a Scottish Gin, a genuine Scottish Gin. We will continue to update the file on a regular basis and hope that both the consumers and the Scottish Gin makers like what they see! Keep an eye out for Nessie or the Viking! The PDF is a high-resolution print ready PDF so if you wanted to take it along to your nearest printer they can print off a copy of our beautiful Scottish Gin map for you to frame.

Going forward and growing…

As a business, we are 100% independent. We don’t have any official affiliation, shareholdings or personal family ties to any Scottish Gin brand, any gin makers, publications or media organisations. We are committed to making sure all Scottish Gin makers are treated equally and with respect at all times, and that we showcase their products and brand in a professional way.

One of our objectives is to add value to the Scottish Gin sector and individual Scottish Gin makers, protect and respect their brand assets and provide the consumer with useful and insightful information about the world of Scottish Gin that hopefully encourages them to not only explore new gins but also learn more about the world of distillation, botanicals and what makes a gin a gin.

As the Scottish Gin industry continues to grow, so will our website. We don’t believe the story of Scottish Gin will stand still for very long and neither will The Gin Cooperative. We’re already working on phase two of our website and will work towards incorporating the feedback we receive in the coming weeks and months from our stakeholders. Working with over 100 individual stakeholders demonstrates the momentum of Scottish Gin and gin as a spirit. With gin seemingly the go-to spirit for the consumer, we don’t see this changing any time soon. We understand the importance of making sure Scottish Gin is presented to the world in not only the best possible way through creative marketing and high-quality content, but also promoted in a safe, sensible and responsible way on both our website and our social media pages.

And finally…

A very special thank you to Grant Rattary at Zulo. For us, there was only one person we wanted to work with on this project and that was Grant. Having worked with Grant on a number of previous web-based projects, we believe he is an asset to any future project he works on. Grant is technically astute, professional and friendly, and he brought some great ideas to the project. We’re delighted with Grant and Zulo’s time, efforts and contributions to the development of the website and can’t recommend Grant highly enough.

A very, very big thank you to everyone who has helped us get to this stage. Our friends and families and all the stakeholders. In particular we have to give a big thank you to those in the Scottish Gin community who have either given us tid bits of information, spent countless hours on the phone, dealt with numerous emails and a whole lot more – in some courts it could be called stalking but we prefer to call it professional pestering!

A big special thank you to Kevin & Lorien at Loch Ness Spirits, Neil & Katie at Blackford Craft Distillery, Nick & Emma at The Teasmith, Richard & Peter at The Lost Loch Distillery, Gary & Andrea at the Orkney Gin Company, Alicia Macinnes, Claire Fletcher & Georgina Kitching at Lussa Gin, Gordon & Vanessa Quinn at Badachro, Walter Micklethwait at Inshriach Distillery, Colin McLean at McLean’s Gin, Stuart Brown at Deerness Distillery, Andrew Peerless at Inginius, the teams at London Essence, pHenomenal Drinks, Scott Rose at Dutch Courage, Michael at The Inverurie Whisky Shop, Peter Sim at Peaty Nose, Tony at Strathearn Distillery, Simon at Persie Distillery, Jeanette Forbes at Grape & Grain Aberdeen, Claire McPherson at Logie Durno, Isle of Harris Distillers, all the team at Hendrick’s Gin, the team 3/4 oz. Tonic Maison, Euan Harris at From the Gin Shelf, Ally at Craft 56 for helping out with some of the more obscure gin images, all the gin makers, all the tonic and mixer makers, all the wonderful bars and the staff, all the gin bloggers, commentators and gin related organisations who have provided support and encouragement, and last but certainly not least all the people who have responded to The Gin Cooperative. Your likes, shares, retweets and comments are valued and greatly appreciated and we hope our new website and social media pages help you discover some truly great Scottish Gins that deserve to be in your gin collection. Sorry if we’ve missed anyone but please know your input and support is very much appreciated.

We also have to thank our family and friends for their support. With two young kids – a little boy Isaac who will be 3 in June and a little girl Elizabeth who turns 2 in September, we’ve certainly had our work cut out for us with a young family and undertaking a project of this size, but the kids’ nursery has been a great help along with grandparents taking their fair share of babysitting duties.

One of the many positives has been learning more about the country we live in. Visiting Scottish Gin makers is the perfect excuse (as if there was an excuse needed), to go and visit some of the amazing places in Scotland we had the pleasure to write about during the course of the project.

We hope The Gin Cooperative website has managed to capture some of the magic, passion, craft, love and quality that the people making Scottish Gin invest in creating what we consider to be the best gin in the world, bar none. We will be in touch with stakeholders in the coming weeks with more details of what they can expect, but for now like, share and help us spread the word of Scottish Gin with our website link www.thegincooperative.com and our unique hashtag #discoverscottishgin.

Lets all raise a glass to the amazing world of Scottish Gin and lets tell the world the story of Scottish Gin together.

Natalie & Martin, founders of The Gin Cooperative

Scottish Gins Bars Tonics & Mixers