Why the Rise of Scottish Gin?
Gin is a hugely popular spirit, with supermarket and off-licence shelves stacked full of countless brands of gin from well-known and independent producers. 70 percent of gin in the UK market is produced in Scotland. Gordon’s Gin, made in Fife, is the world’s most popular brand, but there are at least 200 more gin brands produced in Scotland, and many more continue to appear on the shelves , thanks to the spirit’s ever-growing popularity.
Gin Sales are Booming
UK retailers sold around 48 million bottles of gin in the year ending October 2020. Each year, the popularity of gin as a tipple continues to rise. Scotland is famous for its whiskey industry, but the smaller gin production industry is fast catching up. Experts say it won’t be long before the gin market outperforms whiskey sales, and it is possible gin will eventually become Scotland’s national drink!
The History of Gin in Scotland
Jenever, a spirit made with juniper berries, first arrived on Scottish shores in the 17th century, traded by Dutch merchants. By the late 1700s, it was a hugely popular drink across Scotland, and this sowed the seeds of today’s enterprising artisan gin producers.
Artisan Gin Production in Scotland
While three of the biggest gin brands are all produced in Scotland, it is the smaller producers that have caught the public’s imagination with their unique and adventurous flavours of gin and enterprising methods of making their products.
Many artisan gin-makers utilise local ingredients, such as heather and sap from silver birch trees. Many Gins are created using recipes passed down through the generations, made with local passion and a sense of place.
The Rise of Flavoured Gins
Of the 48M bottles sold in 2020, 27 million were flavoured gin, an increase of 31 percent on the previous 12 months. In 2017, very few brands produced flavoured gin, but by 2019, the market was worth £165 million, with many of the new varieties being produced by smaller Scottish distilleries.
There is no shortage of unusual flavours in the Scottish gin sector. Artisan producers are nothing if not experimental!
From haggis gin for Burns Night to rose gin and spirit flavoured with coriander, chocolate, and angelica root, you can tempt your palate with any number of unusual flavours of gin produced in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
Scottish Gin Tours
Scottish gin distillery tours are proving to be a popular new pastime for tourists. Scotland’s whiskey distilleries have a long history of playing an important role in Scotland’s tourism industry, but with the increasing popularity of gin, lots of gin distilleries have opened their doors to visitors.
Weekend Scottish gin tours to islands like Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides are a great way to enjoy a taste of Scottish culture and a generous helping of local gin. Many distilleries are located in fabulously scenic spots, so visitors can make the most of the landscape while touring distilleries and pick up some gin to take home.
Watch this space to see how the Scottish gin industry progresses in the next few years!