Depending on how you count
these things, there are currently more than 80 Scottish distilleries producing
gin; some 120 different Scottish gin brands and more than 300 different
varieties of Scottish gin.
To put it mildly, Scottish gin is booming.
As the 5pm Food blog has reported previously, there is a strong push for Scottish gin to be presented as its own category in the spirits sector.
One way for Scottish gin to get that recognition is through having its own gin awards and, for the last three years. KDMedia have organised just such an event.
Launched in February, this year's awards started with a blind tasting of all the entrants and 117 gins progressed to the finals.
After a rigorous judging process involving 30 leading experts from across the UK, the assessment of 104 written entries and the blind tasting of 173 gins, all distilled in Scotland., the winners were announced last night.
Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year
The ultimate award, Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, was presented to Caithness-based Dunnet Bay Distillers after phenomenal growth in worldwide demand for their Rock Rose Gins.
The team were praised for a commitment to sustainable business practices, community engagement and investment in people as a key employer in the area.
The Rock Rose team also collected two coveted taste awards - a Gold Award for Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin Winter Edition and a Silver Award for Rock Rose Old Tom Pink Grapefruit.
However, it was a small batch gin made on contract for a local delicatessen which was the surprise star of the night. Lenzie Gin which was developed by the owners of Billington’s of Lenzie with contract distillers, Distillutions of Arbroath, fought off competition from 44 other contenders to win the gold medal in the London Dry Gin of the Year.
Lenzie Gin went on to win the judges prize for Gin of the Year; the best gin in the competition. The gin is made using cranberry and bilberry which grows locally in the hills around the small town located six miles north east of Glasgow.
The full list of winners is here.
Quality, innovation and endeavour
Chair of the judging panel, Alex Bruce, Managing Director of Adelphi Distillery commented;
'Once again, and with rising numbers of nearly 600 people, we have managed to gather as one industry, to celebrate our world-leading Scottish gin. Congratulations to all the Scottish distilleries and supporting businesses which have been successful. Winning a Scottish Gin Awards medal is a significant achievement and provides a huge opportunity to promote Scottish gin both at home and abroad. I hope that tonight’s winners will take the opportunity to promote their successes in what was the largest and toughest competition to date.
'Such is global demand in the gin category, we have increasing competition. But right across the food and drink industry, Scotland enjoys an enviable reputation for quality, innovation and endeavour, so let’s continue to work for, and with, that well-deserved reputation.'