About us

Raising the bar for Scottish Gin.

About The Gin Cooperative

Our Scottish Gin Journey

We’re Martin and Natalie Reid, husband and wife, based in rural Aberdeenshire, Scotland and the co-founders of The Gin Cooperative. We established The Gin Cooperative in 2017 to help showcase and promote the wonderful world of Scottish Gin. We publish original Scottish Gin related content through our website and social media channels, including editorial features, photography and video. Our ambition and goal with The Gin Cooperative is to educate, inspire and help others discover Scottish Gin.

2004 – 2009 – Discovering Gin

Gin has been our go-to spirit of choice since early 2004. Thanks to some family members whose tipple of choice was gin, we were introduced to the juniper based spirit. It was also around this time on a night out with friends one of them appeared with a gin and tonic in hand, with a cucumber garnish! We went to a bar to find out more. We discovered a squat, black bottle with a white label that looked 100 years old. The gin in question was Hendrick’s Gin. When we discovered Hendrick’s Gin was made in Scotland, it ignited our love of gin. Until this moment, for us, and we would guess many others, a gin and tonic consisted of a slice of lemon, a boring tonic, and a gin from a green bottle. Thankfully, we were also at the start of the modern gin renaissance.

Over the next few years, we discovered a few gins that we felt broke the mould and got the balance of great tasting liquid, branding and story telling right. Some examples included Martin Miller Westbourne Strength, Monkey 47, Caorunn and Hendrick’s Gin. Wherever we went, we looked for new gins to try, and in turn, we began to discover a world of flavours and exciting brands. We also wanted to know who the people behind these new gins we were trying were. What was the distillation process? What were the botanicals used? So began our educational journey into the world of gin, trying to fill in the blanks in our gin knowledge and understand the liquid in our glass.

2010- 2014 – The growth of Scottish Gin

Our love of Scottish Gin started in 2010 when the Scottish Gin category was very much in its infancy. At the time, only three gins were available that we would categorise as Scottish Gins: Hendrick’s Gin, Caorunn Gin and The Botanist. Martin received a bottle of The Botanist as a thank you from a friend for helping with some graphic design work for his wedding.

The original bottle for The Botanist looked very different to the current bottle. It was a large, heavy rectangular bottle with a fascinating story about the botanicals and a gin still named ‘Ugly Betty’. The bottle looked cool, had a great story, was made in Scotland using a variety of Scottish botanicals, and tasted beautiful. Besides having enjoyed Hendrick’s Gin and Caorunn Gin, The Botanist was now the third Scottish Gin we had discovered and enjoyed. We would have to wait a few more years before the Scottish Gin category started to build momentum with the launch of several new Scottish Gin brands and products.

In 2013, we visited New York on holiday. We were sitting in the rooftop bar at the Hudson Hotel sipping on a Scottish Gin, in awe that many of the places we had visited in NYC had some Scottish Spirit behind the bar. Many had a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin, Caorunn, The Botanist, or all three. Every bar had a decent selection of Scotch Whisky. There was something cool about being on the other side of the world. In one of the world’s most vibrant, exciting cities for food and drink, Scottish spirits had a place and presence on every drink’s menu.

We talked about the growing popularity of gin, especially in the decade starting from 2004, when gin became our go-to drink, to the present day, sitting here in a bar in NYC drinking Scottish Gin. Along with gin and tonics, we also enjoyed discovering the history of gin, gin-based cocktails and other aspects of the gin category. We developed a genuine love for gin and would happily and proudly describe ourselves as ‘gin nerds’.

Much of our education about gin in the previous ten years had come from researching brands online, speaking with bartenders and bar owners, retailers, and anyone we thought could provide some tidbits and insight about the gins in our glasses. There were a few online resources at the time we had found, but nothing specific for Scottish Gin or a library of gins that showcased the botanicals, flavour profiles, production processes and other insightful info we liked to know when buying or drinking gin.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a gin website that provided all the details we wanted to know for every gin in the world? And if not the world, maybe just Scottish Gin?” and “It would also be great if you could learn about each distillery producing gin… what stills they use, do they offer a visitors experience?” A content-rich online resource for consumers to learn everything they want about the gins they are drinking.

And like most holiday ideas, once we were back to our everyday lives, the concept of a business that promoted Gin was only briefly discussed again from time to time. We often laughed at giving up full-time jobs to run a business showcasing gin.

By the end of 2014, we had seen more Scottish Gins released than ever, a trend that played out over the next few years. We could see that the new brands and Scottish Gins coming to market had exciting stories to tell, and many were opening distilleries. Scottish Gin was about to become a ‘thing’.

2015 – 2017 – Crossroads and feeling cheated

We began to see new gin-related websites and social media accounts, with gin drinkers sharing their verdicts and reviews or sharing their gin collections and home cocktail-making skills. Because we’re Scottish, we began drinking almost nothing but Scottish Gins and were keen to learn as much as we could about the Scottish Gins we were drinking. Although we both worked full-time jobs and had started a family, the idea we had on holiday of creating a business to help educate and inspire other gin drinkers to check out Scottish Gin wouldn’t go away. The idea of creating something that would provide all the info we could ever need in one place had much appeal.

The message ‘Buy local, support local’ was something we were seeing increasingly, with many independent retailers using this message as part of their marketing. Being based in rural Scotland, it was an easy concept for us to adopt, with many of our local shops being independent businesses. Supporting and buying from local independent shops felt like we were returning something to the local area. We got this same feeling when buying Scottish Gin. We were supporting predominately small family businesses based in Scotland, producing brilliant Scottish Gins.

A turning point for us as gin drinkers and consumers was in late 2016 when we bought Scottish Gin as Christmas presents for family and friends. With the bottles wrapped and sent out, we were happy we were supporting a Scottish Gin maker and sharing their product with our friends and family, a product made in Scotland by a local business at a local distillery.

Everything from the label and packaging to the website and marketing pointed to the underlying message that this Gin was made in Scotland. Unfortunately, we were mistaken. Upon closer inspection, we discovered the gin we had taken delight in promoting to our friends and family as being locally produced wasn’t made in Scotland, never mind made locally.

We were left feeling disappointed and slightly cheated. A business using Scotland and all the benefits that it brings by being associated with Scotland’s world-class food and drink sector that didn’t make their gin in Scotland seemed morally wrong.

At this time, Natalie also found herself at a crossroads in her 15-plus-year career in oil and gas, where she had built a reputation for being strategic and having excellent leadership and people skills. Natalie had previously encouraged Martin to set up a graphic design business in 2011, so we both knew the risks of starting a business from nothing. Plus, we also had a toddler and a baby to look after. With the roles reversed, Martin convinced Natalie that there would never be a right time, but with their love for gin and wanting to create something positive for the world of Scottish Gin, we finally established The Gin Cooperative in December 2017.

We quickly outlined what The Gin Cooperative was and what it would do. The Gin Cooperative was a cooperative in the sense of ‘involving mutual assistance in working towards a common goal.’ That common goal was to promote the idea that to be called a Scottish Gin, a gin should be made in Scotland. Where and how Scottish Gins were being produced should also be clear and transparent.

The business would be fee-based with a membership. Members would receive various benefits, including the invitation to participate in editorials, use of our original photos, additional features on their A-Z profile, and more. All members would pay the same fee, and all members would be equals. Membership fees would be re-invested in the website, partly covering visits to distilleries and helping us grow our presence in the industry. The long-term goal would be to generate a commercial income through other potential activities so one day, we could drop the membership fee.

Our audience would be consumers and the on-trade and off-trade businesses, organisations and individuals who worked in or were interested in Scottish Gin. We also knew of some cynicism around paid-for advertising, bloggers and influencers. We made it clear we were none of these. We’re not a blog. We’re not influencers. We’re a small family business, passionate about showcasing and promoting Scottish Gin as a product made in Scotland with care, skill and love.

We even ran our membership model past the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), who agreed that because we weren’t allowing the member’s final say or approval of the content we were publishing, in terms of the rules governing paid promotions and advertorials, we didn’t fall into this category. We had the final say and editorial control over everything we did. Brands couldn’t dictate when we published content about them or the content, including editorial features, competitions, images or anything related to their brand.

We were also very aware that starting a business that talks about alcohol, everything we do should have a clear ‘Drink Responsibly’ message. We understood that not everyone has a positive relationship with alcohol. To this day, we keep this in mind and do what we can to ensure our audience is aware of this message.

2018 to 2019 – A new website and a new day to celebrate Scottish Gin

We invested a big chunk of our life savings. We spent the first four months of 2018 gathering content for our website and conducting research, speaking with Scottish Gin makers and brand owners. It was a mad, fun and hectic few months that made us finally realise we were on our way to launching our dream business.

The Gin Cooperative website launched in April 2018 after considerable investment and time spent to make sure the website was original and easy to navigate and presented Scottish Gin in an engaging, informative way. It was the first of its kind, a dedicated, premium resource for Scottish Gins exclusively made in Scotland.

Our A to Z of Scottish Gin listed every Scottish Gin brand at the time and the Scottish Gins they produced. We also listed where the Scottish Gins were being made, cutting through any smoke and mirrors marketing. Botanicals, year released, style of gin, suggested serves, and more – total transparency for everyone. Content-rich, original, detailed and insightful. It is still the go-to resource for Scottish Gin used by consumers, industry and trade to learn more.

We also launched several unique, original editorial features, including interviews with distillers and brand owners, the background and history behind botanicals, cocktails, and news. We also started with a membership of 50 Scottish gin makers, well over half the brands on the market then. Our membership continued to grow until we reached over 90 Scottish Gin brands by 2021.

A few months later, after celebrating World Gin Day, we realised that there was no specific day in the drinks calendar for Scottish Gin. Having seen the growth of the Scottish Gin category and the investment from brands and producers, we believed that Scottish Gin was worthy of a day to call its own.

We set to work establishing International Scottish Gin Day© (ISGD). This day would provide Scotland’s Gin makers and brand owners, the on-trade and off-trade, consumers and bloggers, a chance to talk about Scottish Gin. We have always believed that the more organisations, businesses, societies, bloggers, and individuals showcasing and talking about Scottish Gin, the better.

The first ISGD took place in August 2019. The day saw some of the world’s best bars, Scottish Gin makers and brands, consumers and the gin community raise a glass to Scottish Gin. Through events, online content and more, the day was a great success and has continued to grow year on year. ISGD now takes place on the first Saturday in October each year.

2020 to 2022 – A new shop for Scottish Gin and Awards Programme

In December 2020, we launched our Scottish Gin shop, featuring one of the largest selections of Scottish Gin to be found online by an independent online retailer. Working with our members, we were uniquely positioned to buy most of the gins for our shop directly from the producers and brand owners, where this was the preference. We also launched our Scottish Gin subscription service simultaneously, which saw subscribers receive a new Scottish Gin each month and several other benefits.

Like everything we did, our shop focused on the details often overlooked by other retailers, including tasting notes, suggested serves, and where and how the Scottish Gins in our shop were made. We wanted to provide consumers with the stories and insight behind every product so they could make an informed choice regarding which Scottish Gins they purchased.

In April 2022, we announced and launched The Gin Cooperative Awards, a competition for Scottish Gin. Having been sponsors and judges of The Scottish Gin Awards, a competition we greatly admire and respect to this day, we saw an opportunity, based on our discussions with others in the Scottish Gin industry, to create an awards programme that we believe was original and unique.

With a judging panel of consumers, community and industry, each entry would be scored by nine judges: three consumers, three community and three industry. Each sample would be evaluated neat, as a gin and tonic and a score for packaging. The judge’s feedback would also be provided to the brands so they had genuine, real-world feedback about their gin, giving transparency and further valuable insight.

By September 2022, our membership was at over 95 Scottish Gin brands. We had worked hard to deliver the same benefits for all members, seeking collaboration opportunities through our editorial features, helping highlight their brand and products through our content and more. We had put in countless hours promoting and showcasing our members’ stories, brands, and products. We were in a fortunate position and were able to realise one of our long-term goals and removed the membership fee. We could now showcase all Scottish Gin brands, share their news, invite them to participate in editorial features and showcase their Scottish Gins, providing our audience with broader, richer content covering more brands.

2023 to Present – A new shop and time off

At the start of 2023, we decided we had earned a well-deserved hiatus from our busy editorial schedule. Since 2017, we had lived, breathed and showcased Scottish Gin. We’d visited over 100 distilleries around Scotland, capturing original content, speaking with distillers and brand owners, taking photos and videos and furthering our industry insight. We’d published content that helped share the stories behind the people, the brands, and the Scottish Gins, as well as building collaborations and industry connections.

In 2021, we acquired the ScottishGin.com domain name and social media handles, intending to transition our online shop to a new domain and stand-alone brand, which we launched in February 2023 after a five-figure investment to create a bespoke, customer experience-focused website.

We worked with the award-winning design studio D8. D8 have studios in Glasgow, Amsterdam and Hong Kong and can count the likes of Spotify, Edrington, Sony Music, BBC and more as clients. We knew D8 would be the perfect fit to help us design, develop, and launch our new e-commerce website. 

We decided something had to give so we could focus on our new shop, which features the world’s largest selection of Scottish Gins from any independent online retailer. We warehouse and hold all stock ourselves and handle and process every order. If it makes commercial sense, we try to buy stock directly from the brands and producers, giving something back to the producers and brand owners.

We also used our time off in 2023 to look at where we add value to the world of Scottish Gin and what we can do to help educate and inspire consumers and industry to go and discover Scottish Gin. 2023 would provide us with some well-needed time behind the scenes to undertake our first site-wide audit of our downloads and A-Z of the Scottish Gin directory. 

These updates will roll over into 2024 with over 170 Scottish Gin brands and over 550 Scottish Gins in our A-Z, along with several new brands and Scottish Gins also waiting to be added; we needed the time off from our editorial schedule to work on these essential aspects of our website.

Although The Gin Cooperative has continued to grow alongside the Scottish Gin category, we’re still as passionate and excited about Scottish Gin as we were when we first started our journey into the world of gin back in 2004. We still get excited when we see a new Scottish Gin brand start-up or a new Scottish come to market and continue to travel all over Scotland, visiting distillers and speaking with brand owners. We’re proud of what we have built over the years and always feel humbled that we’re part of the Scottish Gin industry, providing a positive voice that connects brands with consumers and plays a role in telling, sharing, and celebrating the story of Scottish Gin through our content and businesses.

We feel fortunate that we’ve had the support and been able to work with and collaborate with almost every Scottish Gin brand currently producing Scottish Gin. We’ve also come to know the many talented, hard working and brilliant people in the industry, from brand owners and distillers to brand ambassadors and marketing executives. We’ve also been privileged to have the support of many bloggers, journalists, content creators, and many other businesses in the spirit supply chain, many of whom support us through our various sponsorship opportunities with ISGD and our awards.

We are excited and optimistic about what the next few years will bring for us and the world of Scottish Gin as we continue to invest in all our brands and websites. All that’s left to say for now is thank you to everyone who’s been part of our journey and allowed us to be part of theirs. The spirit of collaboration and promoting Scottish Gin as a premium spirit made in Scotland with care, skill and love underpins everything we do today, tomorrow and long into the future.

Learn more about us here.

About Natalie Reid, Co-Founder

Natalie has held several key business roles in various organisations since graduating from University with a first-class honours degree from Art School in 2005, including oil and gas-related roles in training and competence, senior management posts and board-level positions.

Natalie brings a wealth of experience from working with several FTSE-listed companies. Her creativity, professionalism, business acumen and hard work have helped grow several successful businesses. Natalie is also responsible for managing the day-to-day running of ScottishGin.com, along with content strategy for social media channels and is a personal licence holder.

Learn more here.

About Martin Reid, Co-Founder

Since 2001, Martin has worked as a graphic designer, holding various roles in the publishing and newspaper industry and senior roles at a design and advertising agency.

In 2009, Martin established his design studio, Reid Advertising & Design, which he operated part-time before leaving full-time employment to focus on his business. Martin worked as a senior Graphic Designer and Creative Director, working with clients across several business sectors, including retail, hospitality, food and drink, oil and gas, agriculture, property, architecture, aviation and more. Building brands, creating advertising campaigns and developing marketing materials across print and digital, Martin enjoyed helping his clients share their messages and connect them with their target markets.

As much as Martin was passionate about Reid Advertising & Design, due to the continued growth and success of The Gin Cooperative, Martin came to a crossroads and opted to close Reid Advertising & Design in April 2022 to focus on The Gin Cooperative. Martin has WSET Level 1 in Spirits and WSET Level 2 in Spirits with distinction qualifications and has plans to complete WSET Level 3 in Spirits. 

Learn more here.

Judging and Industry Insight

Natalie and Martin have provided their industry insight and knowledge as taste judges for the Scottish Gin Awards and The Gin Guide Awards. Along with judging, Natalie and Martin also offer their feedback to Scottish Gin makers looking for feedback on their products in development and input into brand development, social media content and marketing strategies, along with helping connect brands with industry bloggers who can help add value.

Press and Media Contributions

With our industry insight, we’ve helped contribute to various articles, publications and news features covering the world of Scottish Gin and the broader gin category. We’ve contributed to The Times, The Scotsman, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and more. We’ve also provided insight and contributions to various educational institutes, including the Edinburgh School of Economics and the Institute of Brewing and Distilling at Herriot Watt University.


Scotland’s gin makers and brand owners have continued to use our original photography as part of their branding and marketing. Our original photography has appeared in various printed publications, including books, newspapers and online. Several Scottish Gin brands have commissioned us to shoot photographs for their brands, including distillery, people, product and cocktail photos. 

Experiences News & Features ScottishGin.com