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Scotland celebrates the success of the gin boom

Scotland boasts a record number of gin distilleries reaching from Berwick to the Shetland Isles with over 50 Scottish gin brands available on the market.

In 2017 HMRC recorded 20 new distillery openings in Scotland taking the total number of Scottish distilleries up to 149, a 63% increase in five years.

The recent boom in gin distilleries means that over a third of Scotland’s 149 distilleries are now producing gin.

To celebrate the phenomenal success of the Scottish gin industry the Wine and Spirit Trade Association arranged a reception in the Scottish Parliament and published a new WSTA Scotland Gin Trail for the event.

Sponsored by Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, and in the week of World Gin Day (9th June), the event welcomed MSPs to learn more about Scotland’s rich gin history and meet the people behind the brands.

The WSTA Scotland Gin Trail first launched back in 2016, has been updated to reflect the rapid rise in distilleries and now includes 54 gin makers across the length and breadth of Scotland.

With many of the gin producers making more than one type of gin the number of Scottish gin brands is believed to have climbed to around 140.

Some of Scotland’s finest gin and spirit makers took part in a tasting showcase for MSP’s at a reception in Holyrood on Wednesday evening.

These included gins infused with homegrown botanicals including bladderwrack seaweed, rowan berry, bog myrtle, garden mint and plum.

Spirit sales in Scotland were worth almost £1.2 billion last year, £150 million of that came from gin sales.

In a recent YouGov poll, gin came out top of Scotland’s most popular spirit drink ahead of vodka and Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

At the end of last year, the UK’s first gin spa opened in Glasgow. This was followed by one Scottish gin distiller attracting two investment offers in the Dragon’s Den, for his pitch to open a new distillery and restaurant.

The “ginaissance” shows no signs of slowing, in 2017 UK gin exports grew to an all-time high, worth £530 million.

Commenting on the event, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said: “I was delighted to host an evening of Scottish gin and spirits in the Scottish Parliament, celebrating the fantastic growth of gin production in Scotland. Across the country, we are seeing the real positive impact of Scotland’s ‘ginaissance’ - with sales of gin increasing. With over 20 new distillery’s opening in Scotland alone in 2017, contributing £1.2 billion to the economy, the spirit industry continues to provide employment and enterprise for my constituents.”

Miles Beale Chief Executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association said: “Over the past five years the UK has been in the grip of what has been dubbed a ‘ginaissance’ - with sales of gin increasing at a rate of 20% a year throughout the UK. Scotland has played a central role in the gin boom and the rapid rise in the number of Scottish gin distilleries and brands has provided a welcome boost to the local economy, bringing in more jobs and encouraging tourism. The updated WSTA Scotland Gin Trail includes even more destinations where visitors can learn about the innovations and traditions behind some of the world’s best quality gins and most iconic gin brands.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to showcase some of the best Scottish gin producers at Holyrood to share the successes of the Scottish gin industry first hand with MSP’s and allow them to learn more about this exciting industry.”