Scottish Gin News

Round-Up July & August 2022.

Published: 1st September 2022

It’s been a very busy couple of months for us here at The Gin Cooperative so we’re doubling up on July and August’s Scottish Gin news. It’s hardly a surprise that compared to summers past, 2022 has seen a significant reduction in activity and gin releases. We know there has been lots of product development and exciting plans being hatched behind closed doors, but current affairs definitely have businesses reducing risks in a very unpredictable and unstable economic climate. Nevertheless, a few things to catch up on……

New Scottish Gins 

Darnley’s Gin Coastal Haar

The latest limited edition in the Cottage Series is a coastal inspired expression, using botanicals foraged from the East Neuk of Fife, including sea buckthorn, sugar kelp and marigold petals. The tropical notes are complemented by salty flavours used to emulate a Scottish Summers day at the coast.

Learn more about Darnley’s Gin here.

Darnley’s Gin Coastal Haar is the fourth release in the Cottage Series of experimental gins from the Darnley’s Gin Cottage Distillery. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
The new Isle of Raasay Hebridean Gin bottle and packaging follows on from the distillery’s bespoke whisky bottle, which also features moulds of fossils from the island. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

Isle of Raasay Hebridean Gin

Congratulations to Isle of Raasay Distillery on the launch of their new custom gin packaging. We were lucky enough to attend the Edinburgh launch party, where the team showcased the new bottle and explained the design process from conception to execution. The bottle features similar elements featured on the signature single malt whisky bottle, including moulds of fossils and the island’s geography. As the landscape plays a vital role in the production of spirits at the distillery, with the water used coming from deep underground and filtered through layers of natural rock and sediment that formed millions of years ago, the new packaging reinforces the connection between the spirits produced at the distillery and the island.

Learn more about Isle of Raasay distillery here.

Scottish Gin in a Tin

It’s been fantastic to see a number of Scottish Gin brands adding ready-to-drink (RTD’s) Scottish Gin and tonic cans to their range this summer, including Lenzie Gin, LinGin, Rock Rose Gin and Pickering’s Gin, who join the likes of 1881 Distillery, Glaswegin and Edinburgh Gin in offering the consumer convenient gin and tonic serves on the go.

Summer 2022 has seen a number of new ready-to-drink Scottish gin and tonics including Pickering’s Gin with Scottish Botanicals in collaboration with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. (Pic: Courtesy of Pickering’s Gin)
These new Scottish gin and tonics in a ready-to-drink tin join the likes of 1881 Distillery, who launched their RTD cans last year. (Pic: Courtesy of 1881 Distillery)

Scottish Gin News

Green Hydrogen Planning at Arbikie

Arbikie based in Angus and the producers of a range of Scottish spirits including Scottish Gin, have set out to be the world’s first green hydrogen powered distillery. The Arbikie team have secured planning permission to build a wind turbine on the estate, which will help with the production of green hydrogen. The energy generated from burning the hydrogen using a special boiler and burner system will generate steam that will then be used in the distillation process.

Already known for its focus on sustainability across the estate, farm and distillation, including the creation of the world’s first climate-positive Scottish Gin, Nàdar, which is produced using peas, the creation of the new hydrogen power plant will provide the distillery with green and renewable energy as it works towards achieving its green goals. The team at Arbikie will be working with Logan Energy, an expert in the world of hydrogen and Locogen, a renewables specialist.

Learn more about Arbikie here.

The Arbikie Distillery in Angus currently produces a range of spirits including Nàdar, the world's first climate-positive Scottish Gin. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
The distillery’s stills will be powered using green hydrogen. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)


Scottish Gin Awards

The deadline for entries into the 2022 Scottish Gin Awards has now passed and the judges gathered in Edinburgh for the annual in-person blind tasting on 24th of August. Together with the business judging, these scores will determine the finalists and winners of this year’s awards, which include a number of new categories, such as Best New Product of the Year. Good luck to the KD Media team and all the entrants and remember to save the date for the ceremony on Thursday 10th of November at Doubletree by Hilton in Glasgow.

Judging for the 2022 Scottish Gin Awards took place in Edinburgh, with winners announced at the gala dinner event in November. (Pic: Gerardo Jaconelli for the Scottish Gin Awards)
Biggar Strength picked up the coveted 3-stars, awarded to only 2% of entrants. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

Great Taste Awards

The Guild of Fine Food is behind the Great Taste Awards, who use their panel of experts including chefs, buyers, food writers and retailers, to determine 1, 2 or 3-star winners. Regardless of rating, a Great Taste star is seen as a highly respected seal of approval. 

Congratulations to Biggar Gin for winning the highly sought after 3-stars for their high proof Biggar Strength Gin. Only around 2% of products entered are awarded this status each year so this is a big win for any producer. The judges comments included, “Crystal clear and water-white. Oodles of freshly ground pepper playing over citrus and coriander on the nose. On the palate , the juniper is needle sharp and cleanly to the fore on a base of citrus, peeper and coriander. Each flavour is very well delineated and also well-integrated into the whole. Mouth-filling in flavour yet super-clean and restrained at the same time. An exceptional gin which really sings.”

Well done to the other Scottish Gin winners including:

The Great Taste Awards saw a number of Scottish Gins picked up awards and recognition for their quality including King’s Hill Gin. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
City of Aberdeen Distillery’s Fresh Gin and Bramble Gin both picked up Great Taste Awards. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

The Gin Cooperative

TGC Awards

Launched in April 2022, The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022 saw Scotland’s gin makers and brand owners vie for gold, silver and bronze awards across 13 award categories including Scottish Gin of the Year 2022. We set out to create an awards programme that looked at how we believe gin should be judged: neat, gin and tonic, packaging. And also an awards programme with a real-world judging panel consisting of industry, community and consumers.

The result was The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022 featured one of the largest, most diverse and balanced real-world judging panels for any spirits competition. A judging panel of 63 judges across 7 judging groups, with each judging group featuring 3 industry judges, 3 community judges and 3 consumer judges, reflecting the three key areas we see as being vital to Scottish Gin’s growth – industry, community and consumer.

A total of 11 separate elements made up the final score for each entry including the sample neat, sample as a gin and tonic and scores for packaging. Each entry was judged blind for taste by 9 judges – 3 industry judges, 3 community judges and 3 consumer judges. In the end we received over 14,000 scores, which were carefully processed and triple checked to decide the finalists and winners.

The judging panel brought together award-winning mixologists, including Max Hayward from Lab 22 in Cardiff and Eleonora Biason, who is Head Bartender for the gin bar at the prestigious The Holburn Dining Room, London. The judging panel also featured Scottish actor and author Sam Heughan, best known for his role as Jamie Fraser in the hit series Outlander and founder of Sassanach Spirits.

Discover the finalists and winners here.

The inaugural The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022 saw Scotland’s Gin makers and brand owners vie for a total of 39 awards. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
The finalists of The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022 included a mix of small and large brands and producers from across Scotland. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

Behind The Scenes

It’s always been important to us to visit our members, to truly experience the sense of place and get to know the people behind the business. Once again, the summer months have afforded us half decent weather good enough to travel all over Scotland, from Galloway to Angus and Edinburgh to the Outer Hebrides. Strap in for a jam packed summary of our latest Scottish Gin adventures…

Crafty Distillery

It had been four years since we last visited the Crafty team, which has grown considerably in that time. Not only have they produced a number of new gin based spirits since then, including their Burnt Orange & Smoked Pineapple Distilled Cocktail, but they have upgraded their stills and launched Billy&Co Founders Club, which is destined to be a Lowland Single Malt Whisky. Thanks to the team for such a warm welcome, Crafty Cocktails and homemade pizzas!

Learn more about Crafty Distillery here.

Checking out the new stills at Crafty Distillery, home to Hills and Harbour Gin. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
Crafty Distillery launched the new look Hills and Harbour Gin, which is 30% lighter than the old bottle and also features a stopper that doubles as a spirit measure. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

Dark Art Distillery

Galloway is also home to Dark Art Distillery, makers of Sky Garden Gin. At the time of our visit, the brand were celebrating one year since launch, and enjoying a steady stream of visitors to the distillery, which is based in the beautifully refurbished former primary school in Kirkcudbright. Thanks to owner Andrew and distiller Fiona for taking the time to host us and tell us about the brand’s long journey to this point.

Learn more about Dark Art Distillery here.

The Gin Cooperative co-founder Natalie chats with Dark Art Distillery’s distiller Fiona Williamson. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
The Dark Art Distillery is home to a still named ‘Peggy’, manufactured by German still maker Carl. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

Isle of Cumbrae Distillery

Visiting the Isle of Cumbrae Distillery was only a one hour drive and ten minute ferry from Glasgow. We were fortunate to be there on a beautiful sunny day and meet one fifth of the all-female founders team, specifically Bronwyn, who welcomed us with open arms (despite an unplanned visit from HMRC!) Thanks for the tour and tasting, which now includes a range of four Scottish Gins.

Learn more about Isle of Cumbrae Distillers here.

The Gin Cooperative co-founder Natalie and Isle of Cumbrae Distillers co-founder Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
Isle of Cumbrae Distillers use a traditional Alembic copper pot still to produce their range of Scottish Gins. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

North Uist Distillery 

As with most family holidays these days, we might have chosen our destination based on a yet-to-be-visited Scottish Gin distillery; in this case, North Uist! Let’s face it, a road trip to any part of Scotland, no less the Outer Hebrides, is a welcome activity. We were fortunate to be based at the island’s old Schoolhouse, which has been converted into luxury accommodation and a five minute drive to the brand’s production site at Bayhead. A very unconventional setup, which has seen the site grow from a small industrial unit to include additional space for bottling, an former MOD communications container added for storage, a repurposed mobile dentist unit as offices and an old caravan serves as the teashack. We were also treated to a tour, tasting and some Downpour goodies at Nunton Steadings, the brand home and shop and soon to be end-to-end production site. Thanks to Kate and Jonny and everyone at both locations for welcoming us… and our extended family!

Learn more about North Uist Distillery here.

North Uist Distillery co-founder Jonny Ingledew explaining the production process behind the distillery’s Downpour Pink Grapefruit Old Tom Gin. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
North Uist Distillery is currently split over two sites with tastings and the shop at Newton Steadings and production taking place at another location on North Uist. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

Isle of Harris Distillery

With a week long holiday to Isle of Harris planned for next summer, our impromptu visit came about as a result of our CalMac ferry being cancelled from North Uist. Most definitely the highlight of our 25 hour journey home, the distillery had just opened the doors for the day so we had the shop to ourselves, which resulted in a restock of some Isle of Harris Distillers essentials, including some gin goblets and their new ceilidh book. It was a flying visit to the distillery before we headed up to Stornaway to catch our late night ferry home.

As a caveat, the CalMac team on the ground were brilliant dealing with an ever-changing situation and doing their best to ensure people could travel safely. It’s all part of the adventure of visiting the islands by ferry and something we’ll be doing again next year when we return to the Outer Hebrides.

Learn more about Isle of Harris Distillers here.

The Isle of Harris Distillery shop. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
Mary Faller, co-founder of The Island Spirit Whisky Shop in Stornaway with Natalie Reid, co-founder of The Gin Cooperative. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

The Island Spirit Whisky Shop

Once we’d made our way to Stornaway to get the ferry back to the mainland, we took the opportunity to walk around before our late night ferry home. We were taken aback when we were asked by someone passing us on the street, “Are you Natalie and Martin from The Gin Cooperative?”, to which Natalie answered, “I’m afraid we are”. It was the co-founder of The Island Spirit Whisky Shop, Mary Faller. With the shop across the road, we headed over for a look around and a chat with Mary who informed us she used our website a lot to see what was happening in the world of Scottish Ginm along with consulting our A-Z of Scottish Gin for info and details about some of the gins stocked in the shop.

It was a pleasure meeting Mary, who explained the background behind the shop that she setup with her husband Iain and that pretty much one week after trading, the whole country went into lockdown. Adapting quickly to provide local deliveries and creating a streamlined online shop played a role in the shop’s ability to get orders out to customers. Mary also explained what it means to the business when they can support local distilleries and help showcase local gins to visitors and tourists.

We’ve always believed that the more people showcasing Scottish Gin, whether it’s bloggers or writers, retailers or bartenders, or just consumers sharing their favourite tipple, it benefits the entire Scottish Gin category. A rising tide raises all ships as they say, although we’re sure some CalMac customers might disagree!

The Secret Garden Distillery

Thanks to Kate, one of the new owners, for showing us round the distillery, gardens, shop and cafe. It’s been around four years since we last visited and the gardens have expanded so much, and notably the juniper bushes, which were displaying lots of lovely berries. Kate and her two daughters have taken over the reigns from founder Hamish Martin, who has moved onto pastures new following the sale of the gardens, shop and distillery. We wish them the best of luck as they write the next chapter in the story of the distillery and gardens.

Learn more The Secret Garden Distillery about here.

The Secret Garden Distillery sits on the outskirts of Edinburgh overlooked by the Pentland Hills. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
The Gin Cooperative co-founder Natalie examining the juniper harvest at The Secret Garden Distillery. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

Arbikie Distillery

We were blown away by the farm and field-to-bottle production at Arbikie Distillery during our first ever visit last year. We were delighted to return during August to see the finished distillery experience. No sooner had the doors opened at 10am on an average weekday, than it was filled with customers visiting the shop, cafe and booking tours and tastings. The finish and attention to detail in the visitor area has been completed to such a high standard. We were also given access to the upper level, which includes meeting rooms, an open-plan gallery and bar and even a cigar lounge with outdoor balcony space, providing panoramic views across the farm and down to Lunan Bay. We look forward to returning as customers soon, to taste some of those tasty house cocktails. Well to everyone involved in completion of another exceptional Scottish Gin and spirits distillery experience.

Learn more about Arbikie here.

The recently opened distillery experience at the Arbikie Distillery features a shop, tours, tastings and a selection food sourced from local producers, showcasing the regions food and drink offering. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
The distillery also features a private space for events and functions with a bar area, cigar balcony and artwork from a number of local artists. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

Stirling Distillery

Thanks to Kathryn and Brice at Stirling Gin for the invitation to meet them and revisit the distillery during August including a quick catch up with McCann family members June and Elle. Martin was treated to samples of the full gin and liqueur range in between capturing lots of new content at the working distillery, which is also home to their shop and visitor experience. The team were also busy preparing for the return of their successful Stirling Spirit Fest 2022, which attracts some of Scotland’s best gin makers and discerning spirits drinkers every year. Find out more about Stirling Spirit Fest here.

Stirling Distillery is located next to the world famous Stirling Castle and offers tours and tasting events. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
The still room at Stirling Distillery features a traditional Alembic copper pot still. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

The Gin To My Tonic Show Aberdeen

We were so pleased to see TGTMT Show come to our home town of Aberdeen during August, building upon the very successful annual Shows at Glasgow. There were a scattering of Rum producers amongst the Gin producers, most of which were local or Scottish; something we think is really important and makes each Show unique for these national touring gin events. It was lovely to catch up briefly with Paul and Em, the co-founders of TGTMT and we wish them every success with their series of 2022 Shows, including their first ever Edinburgh Show at the EICC. Find out more about TGTMT events here.

The Gin To My Tonic Show Aberdeen 2022 with Shoogle Spirits. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
The Gin To My Tonic Show Aberdeen 2022 with Raven Spirits. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

Scottish Gin Subscription

Our June and July Scottish Gin Subscription boxes consecutively (and coincidentally!) included Master medal winners at The Spirits Business Gin Masters 2022, namely Sea Glass Gin from Deerness Distillery and Hrafn Gin Thought & Memory from Raven Spirits; the signature London Dry Scottish Gin expressions from both producers. Our subscribers can expect this high standard month after month, as we include gins that meet the industry (and our own) very high standard!

Our subscribers receive their gin and mixers in entirely sustainable Flexi-Hex packaging, which not only delivers on our green credentials but it secures and protects those precious bottles in transit. Every month, we get together with the producer and subscribers online in our informal and intimate meet-the-maker session, where we learn more about the gin and brand first hand.

Learn more about Deerness Distillery here.

Learn more about Raven Spirits here.

Learn more about our Scottish Gin Subscription here.

The Gin Cooperative’s June 2022 Scottish Gin subscription featured Sea Glass Gin from Deerness Distillery. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)
The Gin Cooperative’s July 2022 Scottish Gin subscription featured Hrafn Gin Thought & Memory from Raven Spirits. (Pic: ©The Gin Cooperative)

News & Features

Here’s a look back at the editorial features we published in July and August 2022.

Scottish Gin News Round-Up June – read it here.

The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022 Finalists – read it here.

The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022 Winners – read it here.

Look through our archive of Scottish Gin news here.

Scottish Gins Distilleries Growing with Gin