Gin distilleries in Scotland: from the UK to the world
Gin distilleries in Scotland typically fall into three categories.
1. The big players
Firstly, we have the prestigious Scottish whisky makers who are well established in the gin sector. Most notable, perhaps, is William Grant’s with Hendrick’s Gin. There’s also Interbev with Caorunn Gin in Speyside, Ian Macleod Distillers with Edinburgh Gin and, on Islay, Bruichladdich with The Botanist Gin.
In terms of marketing, these bigger players can use economies of scale related to their whisky businesses. They can also secure advantageous distribution deals, particularly in overseas markets.
2. The start-ups
Secondly, there are the start-up distilleries in Scotland who intend to make whisky and produce gin as a way of generating income while their whisky stock matures.
Such distilleries include Arbikie Highland Estate, Shetland Reel, Strathearn Distillery, Isle of Harris Distillers, and Glasgow Distillery, amongst others.
3. The gin-onlys
Thirdly, there are the small distilleries which only ever intend to make gin. These are often, but not exclusively, in quite remote, rural areas. Examples include Wild Island Botanic Gin (Isle of Colonsay), Barra Gin (Isle of Barra) and Lussa Gin (Isle of Jura). However, this category also includes the city-based craft distilleries such as Pickering’s Gin and The Kelso Gin Company.
All of these brands are able to take advantage of Scotland’s reputation as an undisputed centre of distilling excellence. And almost all of them introduce something new to the category either in terms of experimentation with botanicals (Hendrick’s), distilling methods (Pickerings) or the pioneering of field to glass spirits (Arbikie).
Experiment across the categories and commit to learning a little more about the Scottish gins you enjoy.