Photo of
March 12, 2019

The gin festival market is a crowded one. As regular readers of the 5pm Food blog will know, it's rare for a month to go by without a new one popping up.

Standing out from all your competitors isn't easy but True OriGINs think they have cracked it.

Run by Aberdeenshire-based brothers Guy and Mungo Finlayson - who also run two beer festivals up north - their gin festivals are all about Scottish origin and provenance:

'Every gin we have, we have hand selected. Every gin we have is distilled/rectified and bottled in Scotland. These are the basic principles and the more producers that can do this in Scotland and the more local people used in their processes the better.'

Importance of provenance

Provenance is certainly a hot topic in the Scottish gin sector. Some gin brands are Scottish only in terms of their packaging and marketing. Others import grain neutral spirit which they rectify with Scottish botanicals. Some distilleries use some Scottish botanicals but import others - finding a reliable supply of good, quality Scottish juniper berries is not easy.

As you might imagine, all this leads to a lot of dispute as to which brands should and could call themselves Scottish. Other food and drink products, especially whisky, have very strict rules about provenance and they enforce them fiercely.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out but, until then, the Finlaysons have come up with one definition of what makes a gin Scottish and this has given them a handy USP for their festivals.

While the range of gin brands at each festival will change, they aim to have over seventy at each festival with each spirit chosen for their maker's story and brand style.

Eight gin regions of Scotland

Interestingly, the festival is split up into eight bars covering different regions of Scotland: Islands, Highlands, Aberdeen and Shire, Angus and Fife, Perthshire and Stirling, Edinburgh and Lothians, Glasgow, and the Borders.

And to keep everyone’s taste buds happy they’ve added in a Scottish beer bar and cocktail bar.

After an event in London last year and then Banchory in February, True OriGINs is at Edinburgh's Biscuit Factory on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th March with a Glasgow event at The Briggait on Friday and Saturday 31st May and 1st June.

The entry fee includes a Scottish gin bible, a festival glass, access to various master classes and live music. Naturally, there will be food vendors.

There are some free gin samples but full measures must be purchased using the festival app. Pricing is here.

Main pic is from festival Facebook page.