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The National Interview

The Gin Cooperative directory promotes 'the real spirit of Scotland’ by Emer O’Toole, The National.

Published: 15th June 2018

The Gin Cooperative were recently given the opportunity to be part of a feature about small Scottish Businesses by a national Scottish newspaper, The National. The article gave our co-founder, Natalie Reid, the opportunity to talk about how The Gin Cooperative is working with Scottish Gin brands across the market, from the household names to smaller gin makers. As well as talking about how The Gin Cooperative helps the gin consumer, Natalie also discussed the commercial aspects of the business.

The Gin Cooperative directory promotes ‘the real spirit of Scotland’ by Emer O’Toole, The National.

Natalie and Martin Reid set up The Gin Cooperative six months ago when Natalie left her job in the oil and gas industry. As Scottish gin fans, they found it impossible to visit 70 different gin websites to decide what one to try next and spotted a gap in the market for a gin directory. It has now become a trusted source for Scottish gin enthusiasts and has even attracted attention from international importers.

Why did you set up the business?

Leaving my job in the oil and gas industry was a real turning point for me. We were trying a lot of Scottish Gins and saw an opportunity to set up a business that focused on telling the story of Scottish Gin through a dedicated website. There are a lot of commentators online but most of them are blogs that focus on all gins and not exclusively Scottish Gin. As gin drinkers, there was an opportunity to create a fully comprehensive A-Z directory of gin that is made in Scotland, something we are passionate about. Some gins claim to have Scottish heritage but it is only their business that is based in Scotland and their gin is made elsewhere.

How does it work?

Martin has a design studio and I have a marketing background. We wanted the site to be really high quality and content rich and spent months perfecting it all the while self-financing. It’s a great tool for the consumer to learn more about Scottish Gin brands and the people who make the gin. It’s also a great tool for gin makers to see what their peers are up to and it’s even attracted international interest and created some exciting commercial opportunities for Scottish Gin makers. We have also created an interactive Scottish Gin bottle poster and Scottish Gin Map, which Scottish Gin makers have said is the most comprehensive one available. Gin drinkers are using our bottle poster to tick off the gins that they have tried and explore new Scottish Gins. We are currently developing a bottle shop directory section on our website, which will help the consumer discover the many great independent bottle shops. This will include delis and farm shops and hopefully encourage people to support local.

How is it different from competing businesses?

We believe we’ve created a unique and comprehensive Scottish Gin resource. The website features over 70 Scottish Gin brands and showcases over 150 Scottish Gins. Each gin maker has their own profile page, which is a great resource for the consumer, distributors and international importers. We wanted to create our own original editorial content including exclusive editorial series, an example of which is Women of Gin. This is something we’re working on right now and will be launching soon. We believe our approach and unique content adds real value to the story of Scottish gin.

What is your target market?

Our business is primarily focussed on helping the consumer learn more about Scottish Gin. However, the commercial aspect of The Gin Cooperative is to provide the on/off trade sectors, and those working in the spirits industry, with a resource dedicated to Scottish Gin. Our website has attracted an international audience including Europe, North America and Australia. In terms of attracting that international audience, we have a bars sections that features some of the best bars in the world.

What do you enjoy most about running the business?

Meeting Scottish Gin makers and learning their story and learning more about how they make their gin has been really insightful. As a gin drinker, you don’t know the full extent of the craft that goes into it until you see the gin being made first hand at a distillery. It has also provided an opportunity to see some lovely parts of Scotland.

Where do you hope the business will be in 10 years time?

We are excited to see the Scottish Craft Distillers Association and Scotland Food & Drink combining as the Scottish Gin industry continues to thrive. We see ourselves as being a serious and integral part of the Scottish Gin community. We’ll continue to produce value-added original Scottish Gin content that helps the consumer learn more about the story of Scottish Gin and delivers commercial opportunities for the gin makers.

Read the article here.

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