Scottish Gin News

Round-Up March 2020.

Published: 31st March 2020

Our end of month round-up captures some of the exciting news from the wonderful world of Scottish Gin. From new Scottish Gin expressions to distillery openings and more. If you’ve got a story you’d like us to consider for inclusion in next month’s Scottish Gin News Round-Up then email

It’s fair to say March has been a month unlike any other. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted the entire world and what started out as a normal month, has ended with us all housebound for the foreseeable future. Very few businesses are operating as normal and small businesses in particular are having to radically change they way do things in the short term, with many being asked to close.

These restrictions are having a significant impact on the hospitality and tourism sectors with bars, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions all closed. We’ve seen a number of businesses, where possible, adapting to these unique circumstances, providing the public with takeaways, drinks offers, virtual home tastings and vouchers that can be redeemed in the future once the world returns to some sense of normality.

We’re acutely aware that in the grand scheme of things, buying gin isn’t at the top of people’s priorities right now. But we also understand we have a responsibility to our members to continue showcasing their amazing Scottish Gins, businesses and brands in a way that is sensitive to the mood of the general public.

We will continue to showcase our members gins, stories and engage with our audience in a way that provides a positive and welcome distraction. We can only hope the negative impact is temporary and the circumstances can inspire long term planning, community and innovation across business and society; that we can look to each other for a renewed sense of friendship, kindness and support.

We also want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who’s playing their part in staying at home and playing by the new rules. And to everyone who’s working night and day across the UK in our NHS, healthcare, the brilliant staff at our supermarkets, police, farmers and food producers and all front line services who are keeping the UK safe, fed and looked after – you’re the real heroes.

Hand Sanitiser

It’s been amazing to see so many of Scotland’s Gin producers switching from crafting spirits to making and distributing hand sanitiser. From exhausting existing supplies, sourcing new ingredients, labelling, testing, never mind the chemical formulation, we can be truly proud of Scotland’s Gin industry for rising to the challenge. Some have self-funded, some have crowd-funded and most have inevitably moved to a cost-only charge model.

The demand for sanitiser has put tremendous pressure on the producers and they are trying to prioritise distribution within their local communities and their own front line services. Understandably, they cannot deliver to everyone. Some useful online resources for locations of producers include:

The Takeout

Google Maps

Scotch Whisky

We have created an industry-facing Facebook Group for distilleries, producers of hand sanitiser and relevant individuals who can share their knowledge and resources related to the safe production of hand sanitiser plus supply chain contacts, request to join here. We understand some of the large-scale distilleries are now looking to produce huge volumes of sanitiser so it’s likely the shortage and demand for it will slow down over the coming weeks. Remember for mere mortals like us, soap and water is the recommended prevention of further spread of the virus.

A special thanks to the following Scottish Gin makers who have contributed supplies, made or are in the process of making hand sanitiser:

1881 Distillery

Avva Scottish Gin

Badachro Distillery

Beinn an Tuirc Distillers

BrewDog Distilling Co.

Cairngorm Gin Company

Darnley’s Gin

Deerness Distillery


GlenWyvis Distillery

Highland Liquor Company

Inshriach Gin

Isle of Bute Gin

Isle of Harris Distillers

Isle Of Skye Distillers

King’s Hill Gin

Kinrara Distillery

Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin

Makar Glasgow Gin

McLean’s Gin / Inspirited 

McQueen Gin

Pickering’s Gin

Pixel Spirits

The Port of Leith Distillery

Raven Spirits

Rock Rose Gin

Shetland Reel

Stirling Gin Distillery

Sutors Gin

The Botanist Gin

The Old Curiosity Distillery

The Wee Farm Distillery

Tyree Gin

This list is not exhaustive and is still very impressive. A big well done to everyone involved who has gone out of their way to play a role in helping their local communities and front line health services. Also a big thanks to everyone who’s shared their knowledge, asked questions and joined the Facebook Group.

Support Scottish Gin

It’s been widely reported that small businesses will suffer, with some closing altogether in these difficult times, so we remind everyone that the best way to support the craft Scottish Gin industry is to support local and buy from the producers around you. Our directory and free downloadable resources will point you in the right direction. Visit our directory here or download our Scottish Gin Map here.

We launched our Support Scottish Gin campaign two weeks ago and we encourage everyone to join us as we continue to use the #SupportScottishGin hashtag on our posts and Scottish Gin content to show support for the many great businesses and people who make the Scottish Gin category what is it.

Right now there are lots of things you can do to support Scotland’s gin industry – buy a Scottish Gin direct from the gin maker through their website, book a Scottish Gin experience for later in the year, order gift vouchers, share their content on your social media page, like their content, let them know you love what they do.

Some of our members are providing discounts online and special offers on their Scottish Gins so we’ve pulled together some of the amazing offers (subject to availability) here.

We will get through this together as a society and once things return to whatever the new normal looks like, please support your local independent businesses as much as you can. They do make the world a better, more diverse and fun place to live. Look after each other and be kind.

New Scottish Gins

Shetland Reel Hubbelskyu

In some new and welcome news, Shetland Reel released a brand new special and limited edition expression called Hubbelskyu (meaning ‘uproar’), in collaboration with the Shetland Folk Festival Committee, with the Festival celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Unfortunately, like many events, the special anniversary Festival has been postponed until 2021, but for every bottle sold, £1 will be donated to the Committee to help with cancellation and rescheduling costs.

The main botanicals used to create this gin were juniper, coriander, orange and lemon peel and Bladderwrack seaweed, which is used in their award-winning Ocean Sent Gin. The gin was then settled in a sherry cask and has been bottled at 40% ABV to celebrate the 40 years.

It is a gin inspired by the sea and the many visitors trekking north to the most far-flung folk festival in the UK, with a sweetness to celebrate the friends that are reunited and new ones made by the wonderful music.

Purchase Shetland Reel Hubbelskyu here.

Learn more about Shetland Reel here.

Lost Loch Spirits Singular Series Rucolino Gin

The first gin in the Singular Series of spirits from Lost Loch Spirits, Rucolino Gin. This limited edition, single batch gin uses their signature eeNoo Scottish Gin as the base, which is then infused with rocket, clove, orange and lemon peel. 

The flavour profile is inspired by the Italian Rucolino, a traditional Italian herbal liqueur. Described as herbaceous with bold bursts of citrus as a result of the carefully blended flavours, creating a unique favour profile bottled at an impressive 58.3% ABV.

Purchase Singular Series Rucolino Gin here.

Learn more about Lost Loch Spirits here.

Mackintosh Mariner Strength and Old Tom Gins

Not one but two new Scottish Gin expressions were made available to pre-order during March from Mackintosh Gin. Officially shipping from mid-April, the new Navy Strength, which comes in at a hearty 59% ABV and the new Old Tom Gin, which features grapefruit and pineapple in the distillation, are discounted by an amazing 20% during the pre-sale. Promotion runs until early April.

Pre-order the new Mackintosh Gins here.

Learn more about Mackintosh Gin here.

Edinburgh Gin Raspberry and Gooseberry & Elderflower Gins

Edinburgh Gin teased us with their ‘good things come in pairs’ posts earlier in the month then launched two new expressions mid-March, namely Raspberry Gin and Gooseberry & Elderflower Gin. Late last year the team released a full strength version of their popular Rhubarb & Ginger liqueur and similarly here, they have launched a full strength Raspberry Gin to satisfy their flavoured gin fans. The gin is distilled with five traditional gin botanicals and a combination of fresh Scottish raspberries and raspberry leaves to a create what is described as a perfectly balanced gin with an incredible depth of flavour. The Gooseberry & Elderflower Gin is described as a deliciously refreshing and aromatic gin that harmonises tangy Gooseberry with sweet Elderflower creating a refreshing and balanced gin.

Purchase the new Edinburgh Gins here.

Learn more about Edinburgh Gin here.

Scottish Gin News

Scottish Gin Awards 2020

All Scottish Gin Awards entry deadlines and events scheduled to take place in April, May and June 2020 have been postponed because of the Coronavirus, giving applicants more time to plan and prepare their applications. New Key Date are as follows:

New Entry Deadline: 8th July 2020

New Product Delivery Dates: 20th-22nd July 2020

Awards Celebration: 1st October 2020

San Francisco Spirits Competition 2020

Well done to all the winners of the recently announced San Francisco Spirits Competition 2020. The 2020 Competition was another record-breaking year that featured almost 3,000 entries from 65 countries across the world. 

The Competition was held at the Hotel Nikko, San Francisco from March 13th through March 15th. Winners from Scotland were:

The Old Curiosity, who won Gold for their Lemon Verbena Gin in the Flavoured Gin category and Bronze for their Pink Elderflower & Jasmine Gin also in the Flavoured Gin category.

Raven Spirits, who won Silver for their Hrafn Gin Valhalla Gin in the Gin category.

Crafty Distillery, who won Silver for their Hills & Harbour Gin in the Gin category.

Dunnet Bay Distillers, who won Silver for their Rock Rose Navy Strength Gin in the Gin category.

Edinburgh Gin, who won Silver for their Seaside and Classic Gins in the Gin category and Bronze for their Rhubarb & Ginger Gin in the Flavoured category.

Hendrick’s, who won Silver for their Hendrick’s Gin and Midsummer Solstice Gin and Bronze for their Orbium Gin all in the Gin category.

The Gin Cooperative Website Updates

Following months of behind the scenes work, we were delighted to finally reveal some exciting new website features in early March. As well as updating lots of the existing content and imagery throughout the website, we added the following pages and functionality.

Distilleries & Experiences – discover the diverse range of distilleries across Scotland and what experiences they have to offer in our new Distilleries & Experiences section.

Scottish Gins by Year Released – not only can you download our Scottish Gin Timeline Poster but now you can sort by year released directly in our Scottish Gins directory, to discover who made what and when.

News & Features – having published over 200 original features across 25 series, you can now sort our features by editorial series as well as date published.

Downloads – given the popularity of our growing number of Scottish Gin resources, we’ve created a dedicated Downloads page where you can access our maps and posters for free.

Search – with our ever-increasing volume of published content, it made sense to add a search tool on every page of the website so you can search and find whatever you’re looking for related to Scottish Gin.

The time and money invested in these improvements is intended to provide an even richer and more insightful online experience and encourage the consumer to further discover, explore and experience Scottish Gin.

Explore our website here.

International Scottish Gin Day 2020

We plan to move the date of International Scottish Gin Day (ISGD) 2020 to later in the year, especially given the importance of participation from on and off trade. We hope things will have returned to the new normal by then but we would like to give distilleries, bars, retailers and our partners time to adjust, plan and promote their ISGD 2020 events. Further announcements will be made in due course.

In the meantime, we would like to thank our sponsors, new and existing, for their ongoing support. Confirmed sponsors include LSA International, VetroElite, Rankin Brothers & Sons, Image on Glass, Joseph Flach & Sons, Scottish Gin Awards, Design & Code and Reid Advertising & Design.

We’re also delighted to confirm our charity partner for 2020 as Friends of ANCHOR, who serve oncology and haematology patients throughout the North-east of Scotland, including Orkney and Shetland. Run by a small team and stewarded by a committee comprised of senior representatives from the ANCHOR Unit wards and clinics, and the business community, the charity’s founding aim was, and remains to this day, to provide the best possible treatment, care and support to patients. In the last five years alone, Friends of ANCHOR has invested £4m directly into research, equipment and wellbeing within the Foresterhill Health Campus.

Learn more about Friends of ANCHOR here.

International Scottish Gin Day is completely free to host an event and the format is entirely open, allowing participants and venues to get involved according to their own strategy and budget. You can find out more about how to host your own unique ISGD event here. If you would like to know more, email us on

Visit the ISGD website here.

The Gin Cooperative on the road

Fortunately we were able to visit three distilleries and the Gin To My Tonic Show in Glasgow before the Coronavirus lockdown. We look forward to rescheduling cancelled visits once all this is over and continuing to bring you behind the scenes news and features from Scotland’s diverse range of distilleries and experiences.

We visited two of our members on Monday 9th March. Both different in scale and size, both producing fantastic Scottish Gin in the Highlands. It’s one of the things we love about what we do, getting to meet the real people behind the brilliant brands.

Caorunn Gin

Just 40 mins from where we’re based, we visited the famous Balmenach Distillery, home to Caorunn Gin. We were shown around by the wonderful long standing tour manager Gabrielle who provided lots of fascinating tidbits about the distillery including the copper berry chambers used in the distillation.

Learn more about Caorunn Gin here.

Cairngorm Gin

We then headed just a short drive to Carrbridge where we met the youngest distiller in Scottish Gin, Jack Smith, from Cairngorm Gin Company. We had a great chat about his journey into the world of Scottish Gin and his background as a chef. Passionate about food and drink, it was inspiring hearing Jack’s story first hand.

Learn more about Cairngorm Gin here.

Little Brown Dog Spirits

Little Brown Dog Spirits Distillery is officially the closest distillery to us here at The Gin Cooperative, based at the other side of the rocky granite summit that is Bennachie; a view which we admire from our office window. We were delighted to be shown their distillery as well as being taken on a foraging forest walk and treated to a rather tasty smoky negroni. We even met THE brown dog, the pet of one of the co-founders, who inspired the brand name. The team of two, namely Chris and Andrew, has been experimenting with whisky casks for a number years and recently undertook two projects (Project GPS and Project AFG) which resulted in two limited edition runs, forming part of their ongoing Experimental Spirit Series. One of these, Project AFG, was Another F***ing Gin and they are scheduled to release another Scottish Gin this year. We had a sneaky taste and we can confirm you’re in for a treat!

Learn more about Little Brown Dog Spirits here.

The Gin Cooperative Features March 2020

Here’s a look back at the editorial features we published in March 2020.

Scottish Gin News Round-Up February 2020 – read it here.

A Recipe for Gin, Sutors Gin – read it here.

Our People, Kirkjuvagr Orkney Distilling – read it here.

Support Scottish Gin – read it here.

Distilleries Awards