Highland brand is at home in the city

Distillery is preparing to significantly increase its production capacity

Crossbill is happy to let its nearby venues create recommended serves for its flagship gin

THINGS will be heating up this autumn at Glasgow distillery Crossbill as the company expands its premises and production capacity.

Crossbill, founded in 2006, relocated from Aviemore to the east end of Glasgow in early 2017, opening a gin school on the premises – where trade and consumers can learn more about distillation and create their own spirit – last year.

This year the company has expanded into an adjoining unit and, in the coming weeks. will increase its production capacity three-fold after the installation of new equipment.

The product range includes Pincer vodka, Crossbill gin and Crossbill 200 – described as a “single specimen dry gin”.

In the five years since launching its flagship gin (Pincer predated it) the company has secured a wealth of on-trade listings including the Glasgow Marriott and Gleneagles.

And speaking to SLTN, Crossbill’s Philip Craig reckoned the company is well positioned to grow in the months and years ahead.

“Our point of difference is so clear, I’ve got no concerns about the future of Crossbill,” said Craig.

“And I’m looking at ten, 15 years out and we’re in a strong position.

“I would say that a number of [premises], especially down in England, have expanded their gin range – it’s huge – and they’re now starting to look at their return per square foot and it’s not there.

“A lot of them are now talking about consolidating and I’m not concerned about that because that is going to be about point of difference. So I think we’re looking forward very [positively].”

The point of difference is that Crossbill only contains two botanicals: rosehip and juniper, both of which are 100% hand-foraged from an estate in the Highlands.

The majority of gins, said Craig, contain an average of eight botanicals, with some considerably more than that.

And the decision to take a more streamlined approach was a calculated one from Crossbill.

“You can’t say one gin’s better than another,” said Craig.

“They’re different. So it comes down to personal choice. But we believe that by stripping it back to two botanicals, you can add other [flavours] if you want, but other gins might have a botanical or two that you don’t like and that can be the difference between why you choose one gin over another.”

And the distillery is ideally situated in the heart of The Barras, surrounded by venues such as BAAD (Barras Art & Design), 226 Gallowgate, The Gate and Saint Luke’s.

Craig said that, although the location may seem like “a contradiction”, given the brand’s Highland provenance, “to me Crossbill’s all about being natural, straight, honest”.

“And that’s what you’ve got in the east end of Glasgow – good, down to earth, honest people,” he said.

Subsequently, the team is letting its local outlets take the lead in creating signature serves for its gin.

“We’re not recommending any cocktail serves,” said Craig.

“All the bars around The Barras, we kind of take our lead from them. So we’ll feature their cocktails through our website.

“They make stunning cocktails. That’s their profession. We’re gin makers, not cocktail makers.”