An Introduction to The Gin CooperativeSay Hello to Natalie & Martin Reid, founders of The Gin Cooperative.
Published: 23rd April 2018
First and foremost, we’re gin drinkers. We’ve been drinking gin since 2004 and found ourselves drawn towards the Scottish Gin category. We have discovered many brilliant Scottish Gins and brands. The Gin Cooperative came about because of our love of gin, particularly Scottish Gin. It’s an idea we’d spoken about in 2013 on holiday and more recently when we bought gin as Christmas presents, believing it was made in Scotland. It turned out it wasn’t. There was an opportunity to provide more clarity to help gin drinkers, consumers, and the various businesses that stock and sell Scottish Gin 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 with 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 original, rich content and content that the gin makers provided. Our website and business would be membership-based, allowing the Scottish Gin makers and brand owners who signed up to have a premium brand profile in our A of Scottish Gin directory and participate in editorial features, brand-specific content, and several other member-only benefits. With our business experience and backgrounds, we firmly believe we will add value to the brands involved through our content and the broader Scottish Gin category.
For us, ‘Scottish Gin’ means that it has been distilled, rectified or cold compounded here in Scotland, but almost as importantly, it has to be promoted and marketed as Scottish Gin. In terms of cold compounded, which can be a grey area, we appreciate that some brands have a gin made in England before it’s shipped to Scotland, mixed with a distillate made in Scotland. We don’t believe that makes a gin a Scottish Gin when most of the actual gin is produced outside of Scotland. 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 after holding several senior management and board level roles. Natalie’s husband, Martin Reid, has worked as a graphic designer since 2001, spending the last nine years running his successful design and advertising studio. So, in December 2017, we came up with a concept for the business, ringfenced a significant portion of our life savings and officially established The Gin Cooperative.
After a few intensive months of writing content, shooting photos, meeting gin makers, and speaking with stakeholders, both here in Scotland and on the other side, we’re incredibly proud to let you know our website is now live. We have tried to do something unique, beautiful, curated, and crafted for the Scottish Gin industry. We firmly believe that every Scottish Gin maker plays a crucial role in telling the bigger story of Scottish Gin and view every brand as equal.
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 web developer Grant Rattray at Zulo, who has been an absolute 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 to show his support for the Scottish Gin makers and The Gin Cooperative!
This project has enabled us to meet brilliant, innovative, hardworking and genuine people who took significant risks because they wanted to create a Scottish Gin and brand that captured their own stories. Scottish Gin makers and drink producers are vital in supporting the economy. They are also some of the best ambassadors for promoting their local regions of Scotland and giving a first-hand insight into local folklore and legends, a history of their area, and an understanding of the local landscape, fauna and botanicals. Speaking with the industry has provided the best history, geography and nature lessons. We feel very grateful and humbled that throughout developing the website, we have been met with enthusiasm, support, kind words and help from various individuals, businesses, organisations, gin makers, tonic makers, bar owners, marketing teams, brand ambassadors and more. We also understand and have experienced some scepticism as a few others have set out to do what we hope to achieve and have yet to deliver what they promised. We will let our website, content, and approach to showcasing Scottish Gin do the talking and believe with time any critics will see although we have a business model, we have nothing but good intentions and aspirations for being a part of the industry we love and care about.
We look forward to having a genuine and honest voice, positively contributing to the Scottish Gin story, and developing a premium resource for everyone interested in and working in Scottish Gin. We welcome all feedback and input regarding our website. We want to stay true to our original goal of promoting only Scottish Gins distilled here in Scotland. 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 the distillation location first-hand by visiting each of the Scottish Gin makers and have therefore made decisions based on the information we have gathered and long-term hope to visit all of Scotland’s distilleries that produced Scottish Gin.
A website is only as good as its content. We’ve tried to make all the content across the site consistent and look the best it can, including shooting several pack shots of bottles and using a mix of use-provided and original images. 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 want 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!). Neither brand promotes itself as a Scottish Gin. Knowing tha production of both gins was moved to Scotland in the 1990s 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 gatekeepers of gin, so their exclusion doesn’t reflect their quality, prestige or historical importance in the broader story of Scottish Gin. They are both gin brands that have laid the foundations and path for where we are now with the exciting world of gin. An estimated 70% of gin 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 these brands have brought to Scotland also can’t be overlooked.
You won’t find gin reviews at the moment. We want the consumer to discover Scottish Gin and taste and learn for themselves. A big part of the appeal is finding something unique in a gin and linking it with personal experiences; a gin can stir memories and emotions through aroma and flavour. We need the professional training and industry expertise to say we’re gin reviewers. Many experienced people with taste buds and noses 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. One day, with the proper training, qualifications, and industry experience and only if we believe it adds value to what we do, we will look at adding gins reviews to our website, but for now, we will leave this area to others.
The Website: What you will find
Scottish Gin Maker Profiles
Our A-Z of Scottish Gins directory features 70 Scottish Gin brands and 150 Scottish Gins. Each brand has a profile with the brand story and profile for each Scottish Gin with an overview of the gin, the year released, where it’s made, three key botanicals and suggested serve. We’ve used the term ‘suggested serve’ as we believe the term ‘perfect serve’ can be misguiding. 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. We also wrote the profiles ourselves so we could get a better understanding of the brands and Scottish Gins. Our A-Z of Scottish Gins directory features beautiful, high-quality images and graphics so each profile looks its best and lets the gin makers’ story, branding and products shine.
News and Features
Our News and Features section provides original Scottish Gin editorial content created by The Gin Cooperative with an informative and engaging style. We want to ensure 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 publish relevant Scottish Gin news, ensuring we can help continue to share the current news and trends from the world of Scottish Gin.
Our cocktails section, found under news and features, provides a selection of classic and modern cocktails based on 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’ll also provide some history and background behind each cocktail so you can wow your friends with your fantastic cocktail knowledge.
Free Scottish Gin Downloads and Resources
Download and enjoy a variety of Scottish Gin downloads and resources, including the first of its kind detailed A1 size Scottish Gin Map. All our resources will always be free, so everyone has a chance to start their journey of exploration and discovery of Scottish Gin without having to pay for it. We will do our best to update all our downloads, where applicable, every year to reflect the changes in the Scottish Gin category.
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, gin makers, publications, awards organisations or media organisations. We are committed to ensuring all Scottish Gin makers are treated equally and with respect at all times and that we showcase their products and brands in an engaging, premium way that always seeks to add value by educating and inspiring our audience.
It’s important to us that we add value to the Scottish Gin sector and individual Scottish Gin makers, protect and respect their brand assets and provide the consumer with valuable 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.
Our business has several long-term goals, including where value can be added with an awards programme for Scottish Gin, a day for Scottish Gin and an online e-commerce platform for Scottish Gin. Our goal is to one day become commercially self-sufficient so we can remove the membership fee and have a variety of revenue streams which can help support us and provide the means for us to grow our business and brand.
We will also seek to collaborate and work with like-minded businesses, bloggers, individuals, groups, organisations, and societies open to productive collaborations that help us all raise the bar for Scottish Gin. We understand we have a lot to prove to the Scottish Gin industry and will be a guide to all commercial and content-related decisions we make.
We wanted to work with only one person on this project, so a special thank you to Grant Rattary at Zulo. Having worked with Grant on several 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 developing the website and can’t recommend Grant highly enough.
A 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 tidbits of information, spent countless hours on the phone, dealt with numerous emails, and a whole lot more.
A big special thank you to Kevin and Lorien at Loch Ness Spirits, Neil & Katie at Blackford Craft Distillery, Nick and Emma at The Teasmith, Richard & Peter at The Lost Loch Distillery, Gary and Andrea at the Orkney Gin Company, Alicia Macinnes, Claire Fletcher and Georgina Kitching at Lussa Gin, Gordon and 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, Michael at The Inverurie Whisky Shop, Peter Sim at Peaty Nose, Tony Reeman Clarke at Strathearn Distillery, Simon at Persie Distillery, the Isle of Harris Distillers team, all the team at Hendrick’s Gin.
Finally, a big thank you to Euan Harris at From the Gin Shelf, all the gin makers and brand owners, 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 social media channels. Your likes, shares, retweets and comments are valued and greatly appreciated. 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, so a big thank you to the grandparents for 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 has been the perfect excuse to go and see some of the fantastic places in Scotland we had the pleasure of writing about during the project.
We hope The Gin Cooperative website has captured some of the magic, passion, craft, love and quality that the people making Scottish Gin invest in creating what we consider 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.
Let’s all raise a glass to the wonderful world of Scottish Gin and tell the world the story of Scottish Gin together.
Natalie & Martin, founders of The Gin Cooperative