ISGD 2020 Highlights

We reflect on International Scottish Gin Day 2020.

Published: 24th December 2020

2020 will be remembered as a year unlike any other in living memory. And like most businesses in one way or another impacted by the events of 2020, we were no different. As things quickly escalated to a full lockdown across the UK and many other countries, we made the decision to move International Scottish Gin Day from August to October. The result was the previous 9 months worth of planning for events, collaborations and more with some of the world’s best bars, venues and collaborative partners went out the window. COVID meant starting from scratch. 

One of the positives to come from lockdown was that more and more members of the public and businesses were embracing technology for live events. With increasing numbers of people venturing online to take part in virtual events, we too had to embrace this new way of communicating and engaging with others.

From the start we always wanted International Scottish Gin Day to be a day of celebration, creativity and collaboration. That’s what Scottish Gin should do. It should bring people together to create moments and memories. It should be a spirit that excites, inspires and of course be enjoyed (sensibly). International Scottish Gin Day 2020 was most definitely the year of all of the above and more.

Firstly, we’d like to thank our very supportive sponsors, without whom ISGD would not be possible. Not only did they get behind our new date and digital celebrations, but most have renewed sponsorship for 2021 already. Special thanks to Flexi-Hex, Schweppes, LSA International, Vetroelite, Rankin Brothers & Sons, Image on Glass, Joseph Flach & Sons, Scottish Gin Awards, Design & Code and Reid Advertising & Design.

Secondly, a big thank you to members of The Gin Cooperative; the Scottish Gin makers and brands who continue to support our activities and share our goals and values for the Scottish Gin industry. ISGD proved to be a fantastic opportunity for some of our members to work with official supporters of ISGD 2020 and we were delighted to make introductions, which led to a variety of fantastic collaborations.

Thirdly, we’d like to thank the international gin and spirits community, who once again got behind the day and embraced the opportunity to revisit old favourites and discover new expressions coming out of Scotland. Unfortunately most of the bars and hospitality based businesses we had hoped to work and engage with were unable to open for business but we look forward to picking up these opportunities again going into ISGD 2021 and we wish them all the very best of luck and fortune in these turbulent times.

Last but certainly not least, we’re eternally grateful to our official supporters, who really did go above and beyond in their efforts to celebrate ISGD 2020. When we proposed to introduce our official supporters to some of our members, never did we expect the level of imagination, creativity and dedication to showcase some of the very best gins Scotland has to offer. The gin community is a very special place and we’re extremely proud of the friendly, collaborative and positive nature at the heart of the ISGD supporters. We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the brilliant content they created in the lead up to and on ISGD 2020, Saturday 24th October 2020.

Dan Papworth Smyth aka Dan Eats

Dan was able to showcase some Scottish Gins from his own collection and sample some new Scottish Gins as part of the ISGD celebrations. We were delighted Dan took the time and effort to interview some Scottish Gin brand owners and experiment with some serves and cocktails, among other things. Photography is a big part of how Dan engages with his followers and he definitely put this skill to good use. Thanks Dan! Visit the Dan Eats website here. Photos below credited to Dan Eats.

Euan Harris aka From The Gin Shelf

True to form, Euan was organised and strategic and pulled together a really creative and engaging feature for ISGD, publishing ’39 of the Best Scottish Gins’. He involved his fellow supporters and asked them to pick three of their favourite Scottish Gins, which he then showcased in this quality feature. In the piece, you can learn more about the gin, the brand and why it was chosen by the supporter – read it here. Thanks Euan! Visit the From The Gin Shelf website here. Photos below credited to From The Gin Shelf.

Nic aka Nic’s Gin and Beer

There wasn’t much Nic didn’t do in support of ISGD 2020! Instagram lives, tastings, reviews, interviews, cocktails, charitable donations, even creating a temporary ISGD bar at home. It was fantastic to see Nic add some new Scottish Gins to her collection as well as revisiting old favourites. And a big well done to Nic for her generous donation to the Ben Scotland, who need every penny to support effected on-trade workers during covid. Thanks Nic! Visit the Nic’s Gin and Beer website here. Photos below credited to Nic’s Gin and Beer.

Natalie Button aka Gin Obsessions

Thanks to Natalie for pulling together not one, but two original written features for ISGD. Natalie always makes a point of reminding us that she’s technically Scottish as her parents and grandparents are Scottish! Taking her Scottish roots very seriously, Natalie did a fantastic job of researching the brands, writing about the new Scottish Gins in her collection and she also ran some Instagram competitions. Thanks Natalie! Visit the Gin Obsessions website here. Photos below credited to The Gin Cooperative.

Spence aka Ginsmagic

Spence was super creative for ISGD and like any genuine gin fanatic he made a good dent in his Scottish Gin collection – experimenting with serves and cocktails in the weeks leading up to ISGD.  It was great to be able to introduce Spence to some new Scottish Gin brands and he definitely did them justice with a variety of creations and photos. A personal highlight for us had to be Day 7 of Pentland Hills Gin serves, when he made Gin Pickled Cucumber served with a Kofte Kebab and of course a Pentland Hills G&T! Thanks Spence! Visit the Ginsmagic website here. Photos below credited to Ginsmagic.

Dan Cox aka Ginteresting Times

We were delighted that Dan could sample and showcase some new Scottish Gins for ISGD. As a self-confessed gin nerd, Dan not only took the time to get to know the brands behind the spirits, but he experimented with each of the gins, determined to find the perfect serve, or more accurately, the perfect cocktail. A highlight for us was Dan’s Christmas Negroni (which may have to be revisited in the coming days!) featuring Gin Bothy Gunshot. Thanks Dan! Visit the Ginteresting Times website here. Photos below credited to The Gin Cooperative.

Jenny McLaren aka Jenny in Brighton

Jenny went full force Scottish Gin for ISGD! Already possessing a pretty impressive Scottish Gin collection, Jenny not only showcased some of her long-standing favourites, but she made a real effort to get to know some new brands as part of the celebrations. Jenny did a Meet the Maker and review with Roehill and then went on to do a 3 part vlog with Shetland Reel, where she explored the inspiration and islands behind the Shetland Reel expressions – watch them here. Thanks Jenny! Visit the Jenny in Brighton website here. Photos below credited to Jenny in Brighton.

Julian Vallis

New to the supporter group for 2020, but well and truly known and renowned in the gin community, Julian created some absolutely first-class cocktails for ISGD and created some amazing content together with his other half Sandra. Not only did Julian create and showcase some inspirational serves but he helped judge the Seven Crofts cocktail competition shake off, chat Martinis with the team at Isle of Barra Distillers and trend #JusticeForBlueDrinks with his beautiful Corpse Reviver. Thanks Julian! Visit Julian’s Instagram page here. Photos below credited to Julian Vallis.

Sandra Lim aka Juniper Chick 

When Sandra told us everything she had planned for ISGD 2020, we weren’t sure she could actually pull it off, but she did! The cocktails had us salivating and the Insta lives had us busy. The creativity and originality was really something special, with Sandra hosting a cocktail masterclass with Caorunn, an Island inspired Martini with Isle of Barra Distillers, a cocktail competition and shake-off with Seven Crofts and an ‘In the Wild’ foraging LIVE with LBD Gin, among other things. Thanks Sandra! Visit Juniper Chick’s Instagram page here. Photos below credited to Juniper Chick.

Dan Doherty aka Manchester Food Tourist

Thanks to Dan for returning in 2020 as an official supporter of ISGD and helping celebrate by exploring some new Scottish Gins. Treating us to weekly gin reviews, we were able to learn a bit more about Mackintosh Gin, Lind & Lime Gin and some of the new flavoured Pickering’s Gins. Thanks Dan! Visit the Manchester Food Tourist website here. Photos below credited to The Gin Cooperative.

Inka Larissa aka On the Sauce Again

Thanks to Inka for delving into her Scottish Gin collection for ISGD and profiling some of her favourites. Inka was able to team up with The Gael Spirits Company to run an ISGD competition and she kindly interviewed us to learn more about The Gin Cooperative and the inspiration behind ISGD, which she published and shared with her followers here. Thanks Inka! Visit the On the Sauce Again website here. Photos below credited to On the Sauce Again.

Jack Jamieson aka Scottish Mixology

We were excited to have Jack join us as a supporter of ISGD in 2020. Glasgow based, with an Instagram page focussed on making tasty drinks, generally with a Scottish twist, Jack got creative and profiled some of his very own Scottish Gin collection and we were able to introduce him to some new Scottish Gins so it was exciting to see what he did with them! Thanks Jack! Visit Scottish Mixology’s Instagram page here. Photos below credited to Scottish Mixology.

Pam Lorimer aka Sipping & Styling

Being Scottish and living in Scotland, Pam has a keen interest for Scottish Gin all year round so we were pleased she could join us again as part of the ISGD celebrations. Pam did some fabulous reviews of Scottish Gins that were new to her collection, such as Ellis Gin and William Kerr’s Borders Gin, as well as visiting The Borders Distillery and getting creative with some Scottish Gin cocktails. Thanks Pam! Visit the Sipping & Styling website here. Photos below credited to The Gin Cooperative.

Morten Krag aka The Cocktail Blog

Thanks to Morten for joining us an official supporter of ISGD 2020. We’d been admiring his cocktails and photography for a couple of years so it was a pleasure to introduce him to some new Scottish Gins. Morten was able to revisit old favourites, like The Botanist Gin, whilst also experimenting with some new Scottish Gins, such as Fidra Gin and Kintyre Gin. Thanks Morten! Visit the The Cocktail Blog website here. Photos below credited to The Cocktail Blog.

Matt Burton aka The Gin Shelf

Another returning supporter who we were delighted to work with again. Matt has a growing range of Scottish Gins in his collection and he tells a great story as part of his gin reviews. Thanks to Matt for putting the time and effort into his reviews and content for ISGD 2020, covering some of his old favourites and some newer Scottish Gins, such as Roehill Springs and SOS Gin. Thanks Matt! Visit the The Gin Shelf website here. Photos below credited to The Gin Shelf.

Phil aka The Ginasium 

Phil describes himself as a Gin Advocate having documented some educational and interesting gin musings over the years. So we were pleased Phil could return to ISGD 2020, creating some fantastic cocktails and putting his tasting skills to the test in a series of Scottish Gin mini negroni tastings! Thanks Phil! Visit the The Ginasium website here. Photos below credited to The Ginasium.

Bernadette Pamplin aka Under the Ginfluence 

Thanks to Bernadette for writing two ISGD specials as part of the celebrations. Bernadette interviewed and profiled Cairngorm Gin and Isle of Harris Gin, which provided some quality insight into the people, places and brands behind the gins. Thanks Bernadette! Visit the Under the Ginfluence website here. Photos below credited to The Gin Cooperative.

Katie Hughes aka What’s Katie Doing?

Katie always goes the extra mile and her enthusiasm carried into ISGD 2020 once again. Katie not only posted and published features on some great Scottish Gins and distilleries, but she did a series of Instagram lives and competitions with 1881 Distillery, King’s Hill Gin, McLean’s Gin, Rock Rose Gin and Raven Spirits. Thanks Katie! Visit the What’s Katie Doing? website here. Photos below credited to What’s Katie Doing?

We’re grateful to each and every one of our supporters for sharing the Scottish Gin love in the weeks leading up to and on ISGD. They put in a serious amount of time and effort into creating their ISGD content and it’s genuinely recognised and appreciated by us here at The Gin Cooperative.

A special shout-out to Love Gin & Rex for hosting the ISGD themed Negroni Club with Kintyre Gin in October. And also a special mention to Allison at Gin Squares who dedicated the entire month of October doing her own #VirtualScottishGinTour in celebration of ISGD. Gin On The Tyne, who put their love of Scottish Gin to good use over October as well, showcasing some of their own impressive Scottish Gin collection. The Gin To My Tonic put on a virtual tasting event that was sold out. Gin Palace Melbourne put together special ISGD 2020 cocktail kits featuring a selection of Scottish Gins. We wish we could name every single person and account who shared, commented, liked, posted and just generally engaged with ISGD – it’s very much appreciated. As 2020 comes to end, we’ll be reflecting on a rather strange year, but taking some real positives from what was achieved with ISGD 2020. 

With our on-going focus of promoting Scottish Gin as a spirit made in Scotland with love and care, we’re excitedly making plans for ISGD 2021 with a date to be confirmed early next year. As always thanks to everyone who helped celebrate ISGD 2020 and although 2020 will be remembered as the year of COVID, for us it will also be remembered as the year of collaboration, friendship and community.

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