Small gins make a big impact

• Premium gins are proving popular during a boom in small-batch gin production in Scotland.
• Premium gins are proving popular during a boom in small-batch gin production in Scotland.

Scottish spirits show no sign of slowing

THERE has been a steady stream of small-batch gins hitting the market in recent years – and with new distilleries continuing to pop up across Scotland is the gin train showing any signs of stopping?
Not if recent activity is anything to go by.
Following the launch of a number of small-batch Scottish gins in recent years, last August saw the arrival of Rock Rose gin. Produced by Dunnet Bay Distillers in Thurso, Rock Rose gin features botanicals including rowan berries, Rhodiola rosea (rose root), Sea Buckthorn and juniper berries.
Two months after the launch of Rock Rose, The Glasgow Distillery Company released Makar gin, which it claims is the first small-batch gin distilled in the city.
Last year also saw Eden Mill near St Andrews begin production of its own small-batch gins on the site of the Seggie distillery, which was founded by famous whisky producing family, the Haigs, in 1810.
There was plenty of distilling activity in the capital last year too. Pickering’s gin, produced at what’s claimed to be the first gin distillery in the capital for 150 years, launched in March; and 2014 ended with Edinburgh-based distiller Daffy’s Gin releasing the first batch of its copper pot-stilled gin in December.
Other Scottish gins that have hit the market in recent years include Caorunn, launched in 2009, The Botanist and Darnley’s View, both launched in 2010, as well as NB Gin, Blackwoods, Boë, Crossbill and Gilt.
And the Scottish gin boom hasn’t been limited to new products.
The team behind Edinburgh Gin opened Heads & Tales – a bar, visitor centre and distillery beneath The Rutland Hotel in the capital – last summer. The venue houses two custom-made stills which are used as part of a gin-making experience for customers.
Scotland’s gin revival coincides with continued growth for the category across the UK as a whole, as highlighted in William Grant & Sons’ 2014 market report. The firm behind Hendrick’s gin claimed the value of gin sold in the UK on-trade has increased by £70 million over the last two years to £408m.
And small-batch gins could be in the driving seat, as premium gins are credited with driving growth. Sales of premium gins in the UK’s pubs and bars are said to have grown by £36m in 2014, up 26.5% on the previous year.