Scottish Gin NewsRound-Up November 2020.
Published: 5th December 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quite noticeably, the number of new Scottish Gin expressions is definitely less than this time last year, which is entirely understandable given the current position producers find themselves in with many of their traditional routes to market still closed or severely impacted. Dare we say, it’s been a welcome change to see the number of new Scottish Gins being released slowing down in comparison to 2020, when there were a record number of new expressions came to market.
What has been particularly encouraging to see over the last few months, is brands getting creative and collaborative; working in new ways, engaging directly with their customers, streamlining and improving their offering, range and branding. Along with everyone else in the industry, we believe it’s extremely important that the Scottish Gin industry collectively continues to positively and responsibly promote the merits of Scottish Gin as a gin category. A recognisable term that distils innovation, craft, love and care into every single gin and brand that’s part of the Scottish Gin community.
December marks our 3 year anniversary since we established The Gin Cooperative and we were delighted to recently announce the next stage of growing our business as we continue to work with our members to grow the reputation of Scottish Gin as a premium spirit made with care, skill and love in Scotland. As part of our ambitions to support our members and educate, inspire and help gin drinkers discover Scottish Gin, we announced the planned launch our own online shop, which is scheduled to go live early December. Read about our journey up to this point and our motivations and ambitions for the shop here.
New Scottish Gins
Shoogle Spirits’ Shoogle Scottish Dry Gin
Shoogle Scottish Dry Gin isn’t just a new gin, but a first release from a new Scottish Gin brand, Shoogle Spirits. Based just outside of Glasgow, the business is very much a family affair, born out of a shared love for gin, tragically a few family losses and a new perspective on life and work as a result of Covid-19 and Lockdown. Three generations have worked together to perfect their signature Scottish Dry Gin in partnership with Inspirited Distillery, the family’s neighbours and friends in South Lanarkshire. The gin itself is described as a classic London Dry style gin, with a traditional juniper backbone, citrus forward flavour profile with a lingering spice finish. A number of traditional botanicals have been selected together with some more unusual exotic botanicals, most notably kumquat, which we’ve not come across in a Scottish Gin to date.
Learn more about Shoogle Spirits here.
Inspirited’s Navy Strength Spiced Gin
The latest release from the team at Inspirited Distillery; Navy Strength Spiced Gin. Working hard to retain the delicate flavours within the botanical mix, the team put their one-of-a-kind still through its paces to design their “spicy and bold yet smooth and balanced” higher strength gin. This gin is packed full of beautiful spices and botanicals, including baobab, galangal root, Kentish cobnuts, grains of paradise and pink peppercorns. This gin is described as a smooth sipping gin or ideal in a cocktail, such as a negroni or the distiller’s personal favourite, Southside.
Learn more about Inspirited here.
Crafty Distillery’s Galloway Gin
Technically a returning limited edition gin, but this year’s entirely local Galloway gin features new ingredients in the distillation, including elderberries, crab apples and chanterelles from the Galloway forests and pepper dulse seaweed from the coast. Once again, this Galloway Gin, limited to only 1000 bottles, is 100% Scottish, with locally foraged juniper, base spirit using local grain and exclusively Scottish botanicals gathered from the local Galloway area.
Learn more about Crafty Distillery here.
Isle of Barra’s Limited Edition ‘ADA’ Barra Atlantic Gin
The team at Isle of Barra Distillers have taken possession of their brand new bespoke still and worked with the significantly larger and different still to create an improved version of their renowned and distinctive Barra Atlantic Gin. The beautiful 300 litre still is named Ada, after founders Michael and Katie Morrison’s daughter who was born at the start of lockdown. With the old recipe and last batch from the previous still recently sold out, the team has taken the opportunity to present their new recipe from their new still in a limited edition label and presentation box, with ADA adorned on every label, as a way to celebrate this exciting new chapter for Isle of Barra Distillers.
Learn more about Isle of Barra Distillers here.
The Botanist’s Planter
The team at Bruichladdich Distillery released this special edition planter gift pack, which not only safely stores and carries a 70cl bottle of The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, but can be reused as a tin planter to grow herbs and edible flowers, encouraging you to #BeTheBotanist and grow your own garnish; a simply beautiful way to repurpose packaging.
Learn more about The Botanist here.
Rock Rose Winter Spiced Negroni
The Dunnet Bay Distillery team, makers of Rock Rose Gin, released (and quickly sold out of) a special festive edition Winter Spiced Negroni, created by ready-made cocktail specialists Bottle Bar & Shop, using Rock Rose Gin. Containing Rock Rose Gin, Campari, Bitters and infused with cardamom, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and mixed spices, this sounds like Christmas in a bottle. Look out for replenished stock soon!
Learn more about Dunnet Bay Distillers here.
Rebranded Scottish Gins
The superb gins made by 1881 Distillery at Peebles Hydro, part of the Crieff Hydro Group, have been given a rebrand, now presented with beautifully illustrated label, depicting the story and significance of each expression, together with the history of the Hydro and local Peebles area in the Scottish Borders. There’s been huge investment in the distillery and gin school and this rebrand really lives up to the quality of the distillery and range. The unveiling coincides with Charlie Leckie, a sixth generation member of the Leckie family, taking the helm of the award-winning gin distillery in Peebles to drive forward the growth strategy for the 1881 brand. The distillery was designed and built with the help of Jamie Baxter, who is a distillery designer and a renowned distiller in his own right. He worked with the distillery team to develop the four core gin recipes, namely Hydro, Pavilion, Rafters and Honours.
Learn more about 1881 Distillery here.
Having led the flavoured gin trend from their initial launch in 2016, with continuous development and investment in the brand and distillery, McQueen Gin really has earned a reputation as the “originals spirits mavericks” and they show no sign of slowing down. The brand has taken the opportunity to streamline their range, rebrand these core gins and launch a new content-rich website with lots of information about their new look Scottish Gins, the founders gin journey, the distillery and lots more. Having recently visited the distillery in Callander and chatted with founders Vicky and Dale McQueen at length, we can tell you this is just the start of an exciting new chapter for McQueen Gin.
Learn more about McQueen Gin here.
Illicit Spirits is a true urban spirits producer, operating from a small railway arch in Glasgow, just a few minutes from Central Station. The distillery has always focussed on creating quality spirits, with heart, craft and creativity. November saw the brand update their packaging, which gives a nod to gin’s history but with a very modern twist. And just like the labels, Illicit Spirits continue to produce gins that combine both. Their range includes their signature London Dry style Illicit Gin, an (Old) New Tom Gin and Blacklist Gin, which is a peat smoked gin. All combine distiller Darran Edmond’s passion and approach to traditional distillation but stay true to their modern urban setting.
Learn more about Illicit Spirits here.
Scottish Gin News
Lanarkshire Gin Alliance
The newly formed Lanarkshire Gin Alliance released their first collaboration in November – a taste of Lanarkshire mini gin gift box. The Lanarkshire based Scottish Gin businesses and peers, namely Biggar Gin, Inspirited, Pentland Hills Gin, McLean’s Gin and The Wee Farm Distillery are all small-batch Scottish Gin producers and they’ve combined resources to offer this exclusive taste of Lanarkshire Gins. It’s wonderful to see this sort of creativity, resourcefulness, community spirit, passion and support within the Scottish Gin sector.
Edinburgh Gin Storybooks and Pop-up Shop
Drawing inspiration from Edinburgh’s love of wonderful stories and captivating storytellers, Edinburgh Gin has created five of their very own beautiful first edition novels. Each bound in a luxurious casing with art deco cues and themed around a timeless title, the Storybook gift packs are a novel festive gift idea for friends, loved ones, bookworms, and gin lovers alike. In an exciting twist, one of the Storybook packs contained a Golden Ticket, entitling the winner to an original, first edition book worth over £2,000.
A festive pop-up shop location was announced for the Edinburgh Gin brand in November, specifically Frederick Street in Edinburgh’s New Town. Open from mid November right through until Christmas Eve, the pop-up interior has been beautifully designed and stocks the Edinburgh Gin expressions, the Christmas-themed Storybook gift packs and options to personalise your own Edinburgh Gin Classic.
Learn more about Edinburgh Gin here.
Scottish Gin Awards
The annual Scottish Gin Awards took place in an online ceremony on Thursday 12th November 2020. In a series of live digital events offered by the team at KD Media, the awards were presented in a television broadcast style, with seasoned presenter Des Clarke on hand to talk us through the various categories, finalists and winners. The team invested in technology and expertise to bring this new live online event to a wider, global audience, which was ultimately enjoyed from the comfort of home whilst maintaining a real sense of community and celebration within the Scottish Gin industry, from a variety of people within the sector including producers, supply chain, judges and commentators. Congratulations to all of the finalists and award winners. Look out for our Scottish Gin Awards round-up and highlights coming soon.
The Gin Cooperative on the road
Like almost everyone out there, this pandemic has seen us stay very close to home in recent months but we were able to complete some exciting and very welcome visits during October. For the Scottish Gin distilleries that remain open, they have adjusted well to restrictions and implemented appropriate health and safety measures, which means we can continue to visit certain distilleries for the time being.
McQueen Gin Distillery
A distillery and team that does not stand still, but continues to innovate at pace, there’s always lots to see and do at McQueen HQ. This was our third visit the distillery in as many years, the first being a casual visit and introduction to the small team in 2018, the second being a formal celebration and grand opening of the expanded distillery facilities by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the most recent being a much needed catch-up on the recent improvements and plans for the distillery, including a state of the art bottling line, warehousing facilities and a complete rebrand. There’s lots more in store and we look forward to enjoying their continued success.
Learn more about McQueen Gin here.
This was a first visit for us to the family-run Linlithgow Distillery in the town and Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, in Scotland’s West Lothian region. Although based in a relatively industrial location, it was wonderful to visit this welcoming, busy and sizeable distillery packed with a range of Scottish Gins and growing production facilities. We were finally able to meet the couple behind the Linlithgow range of gins, Alyson and Ross Jamieson, and talk through their journey and ambitions for the business, which has seen them innovate and expand their offering in 2020.
Learn more about Linlithgow Distillery here.
This visit was our third to the Inshriach Estate, home to Inshriach Distillery and Gins, among many other things. Walter, the estate owner, brand owner, forager and distiller, again among many other things, is a very cool character and an unconventional Scottish Gin maker, so it’s always an absolute pleasure to visit and this time was no exception. We were finally able to witness first hand the new bottling room in all its glory, chat about the highs and lows of lockdown and some of the weird and wonderful projects Inshriach has been involved in, despite the limitations 2020 has brought.
Learn more about Inshriach here.
A real rarity to travel less than 30 miles, and to a new distillery no less. The family run Roehill Springs Distillery is officially in Moray but with an Aberdeenshire postcode so we really excited to visit this local start-up. Owners Shirley and Duncan Morrison have setup the distillery in a disused farm outbuilding, on their family farm. As well as being a full-time farmer, Duncan is ax ex-still man, working on some amazing projects and spirits with X over the last 15 years or so. As well as renovating a significant portion of the farm outbuilding, Duncan has created a bespoke neck in their small, traditional alembic copper pot still and the couple collect and use fresh spring water from the ancient Roehill Springs on their land.
Learn more about Roehill Springs Distillery here.
The Gin Cooperative Features November 2020
Here’s a look back at the editorial features we published in November 2020.
Scottish Gin News Round-up October – read it here.
A New Chapter in Scottish Gin, Colonsay Beverages – read it here.
A Recipe for Gin, Rucolino Gin, Lost Loch Spirits – read it here.
Beautiful Botanicals, Part 10 – read it here.
Discover, explore and buy Scottish Gin with The Gin Cooperative – read it here.