What is a Scottish Gin?An honest view from The Gin Cooperative.
Published: 19th February 2018
We’ve met many great small batch Scottish Gin producers who love what they do, have invested financially and emotionally and put a lot at risk, including their livelihoods and the roof over their heads, to take up gin making.
As the new kids on the block in the Scottish Gin community, we’ve spoken with a number of Scottish Gin makers and the same issue is raised every time – provenance. That’s why we feel it’s important to be clear about which Scottish Gins will feature on The Gin Cooperative website.
Made in Scotland
We believe that to claim the title of ‘Scottish Gin’, that gin must have been distilled or cold compounded here in Scotland. For The Gin Cooperative, this clear and simple approach to the term ‘Scottish Gin’ is based on geographical location of production. We see this approach as vital to protecting the integrity and identity of Scottish Gin, as well as playing a role in nurturing and protecting genuine Scottish Gin makers and their gins. As a small business and Scottish Gin consumers, we want to know if we are drinking a gin that is genuinely ‘Scottish’. Quite simply, for us, that means it’s made here in Scotland, creating jobs and industry and growing the Scottish economy.
Sourcing botanicals and base spirit
We understand and appreciate that some Scottish Gin is made with ingredients and spirit that’s produced outside of Scotland. We understand why some take this approach due to the time and costs involved in growing a crop for producing their own neutral spirit. Similarly, the obvious availability of native botanicals cultivated in other countries. For many small craft distillers and new Scottish Gin producers, the extra resources required for them to take the ‘grain to glass’ approach simply isn’t achievable and we understand the benefits of purchasing spirit direct from a large producer. We will support Scottish Gin makers who grow or source their own ingredients, including base spirits. We will also support Scottish Gin makers who source base spirit for use in cold compounding.
Partnering with larger distilleries
We’ve been impressed with the number of craft Scottish Gin makers who have their own still and distil their own gin. It’s been an incredible and educational process for The Gin Cooperative. We also understand, respect and support the many Scottish Gin makers who develop beautiful, crafted Scottish Gins but don’t have the resources or facilities to distil their gin, therefore opting to partner with a larger Scottish based distillery. We support Scottish Gin makers who distil gin in their own still and we support those who opt to work with a third party distiller, provided that distiller is based in Scotland.
We understand that every business has to start somewhere and we appreciate that not every gin that claims to be Scottish is made here in Scotland – it’s a simple fact. The Gin Cooperative will not knowingly promote gin on our website or social media networks that claims Scottish provenance but is not produced in Scotland.
We are encouraged to hear from some of the Scottish Gin makers that they plan to invest in their own distillery equipment and bring their production process closer to home. We think these moves are truly fantastic and we will cover relevant, appropriate and verified news that features Scottish Gin makers who are relocating their production either back to Scotland or to a specific region of Scotland.
We welcome any viable commitment from organisations and governments that will work to protect genuine Scottish Gin makers and their gins, in a similar manner to the protection and recognition afforded to Scottish Whisky. We feel some form of official recognition for what is a Scottish Gin is extremely important. We look forward to seeing the plans and ideas that the recent alliance between The Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA) and Scotland Food and Drink will put forward and implement.
We want to ensure our approach to working with Scottish Gin makers is clear, open and honest. We feel it’s vital for the consumer to have faith that when they purchase a Scottish Gin, it’s genuinely made here in Scotland. We want to respect the Scottish Gin makers who have committed to keeping their Scottish Gin authentic by distilling here in Scotland.