Celebrating Scotland’s craft distillers

Scottish gin sales are booming and Scottish craft spirits are bang on trend with the scene undergoing a huge revival all over the country. New distilleries are popping up across the nation and this is creating interest from international alcohol companies who are investing in the market.

House of ElrickEight years ago, UK gin sales were around £774 million – around half of the sales of Scotch Whisky at the time – fast forward to today and gin is worth around £1.2 billion. By the end of 2020, gin is predicted to soar to more than £1.5 billion.

Scotland is a country rich in botanicals and we are well versed in making world-renowned spirits, but with this celebrated reputation and increase production, how can we make sure what we are buying is actually Scottish?

Recently the Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA) and Scotland Food & Drink announced a new alliance which will see the Scottish distilling sector continue to grow and will work to protect the authenticity of Scottish craft spirits.

The SCDA was established in 2014 and works to provide its members with free accreditation to demonstrate that their spirit has true provenance.

There is a strict set of criteria which a business must meet to be part of the association and to receive the SCDA accreditation; distillers must own and operate a still as well as manufacture and bottle in Scotland. These stringent rules are in place to protect Scottish craft distillers from those who use Scotland’s provenance and heritage to sell their products but, in reality, are manufacturing elsewhere.

This news comes at a time when issues of authenticity and provenance are firmly in the spotlight and discerning drinkers are seeking firm assurances before buying products. So next time you pick up a bottle of Scottish gin, look out for an accreditation label!

Pic by Dom Martin

Following the announcement, Professor Alan Wolstenholme, Chair of the SCDA and Honorary Professor of Heriot-Watt University’s International Centre of Brewing and Distilling, said:

“On behalf of the Scottish Craft Distillers Association’s committee, I am delighted to have joined forces with Scotland Food & Drink. This alliance will allow us to continue the work that the SCDA has started on protecting the Scottish brand for distillers across the country. Ultimately, we are run by our members for our members and with the support of the Scotland Food & Drink team, we are working on a plan to maximise opportunities for the sector.”

Liam Hughes, Deputy Chair and Owner of Glasgow Distillery Co, said:

“This is an exciting new phase for the Scottish Craft Distillers Association, the sector is booming and consumer interest is at an all-time high. We have worked hard over the last four years to build the sector and this alliance will allow us to step up our activities. Our members are at the heart of the association and if you are a Scottish distiller who wants to be recognised as having a truly authentic Scottish craft spirit, I implore to join the association and apply for accreditation.”

Rachel Athey, Director of Scotland Food & Drink, said:

“The Scottish food and drink sector is thriving and due to this success, more and more businesses are capitalising on Scotland’s brand. The public show no signs of growing tired of spirits, in particular gin, so it is important that we protect the producers who work hard to produce an authentic product.

Our new alliance with the SCDA means that members now automatically become members of Scotland Food & Drink. This gives distillers access to SF&D’s experts with the additional benefit of specific sector insight, activity and priorities.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the SCDA, visit www.scottishcraftdistillers.org or head to the VisitScotland interactive gin map www.visitscotland.com/see-do/food-drink/gin-tours-tastings/map/

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