More than 500 guests gathered to celebrate the best of Scotland’s artisan gin producers and to hear who had been crowned the best in the wide-ranging competition, which has been running since January.
The top award, Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, was presented to Arbikie Distilling after the company’s mission to create spirits “from field to bottle” was praised by the judging panel. The Arbroath-based farming family fought off seven other distilleries to win the award. They also collected the bronze medal in the Cask Gin taste competition for Cask Aged Kirsty’s Gin.
A new gin from Dundee was the surprise star of the night. Verdant Dry Gin, which created its first batch in May, fought off competition from 16 other contenders to win the gold medalin the London Dry category and went on to win the judges’ prize for the best gin in the competition.
Other big winners were Edinburgh Gin who collected five medals and the Glasgow Distillery, makers of Makar Gin, which won two gold medals for Makar Old Tom and Makar Cask Aged Gin, Matured in Oak.
Popular and established producers such as Caorunn and Eden Mill also won medals, while some smaller batch new arrivals in the market barged into gold medal positions after scoring very highly. NB Gin’s Navy Strength won gold for their super strength product while El-Gin from Elgin won gold for Distilled Gin of the Year.
Awards were also presented for business performance covering business growth, innovation and marketing with the popular Isle of Harris Distillery winning the highly sought-after Excellence in Branding award.
Stephen White, judging panel chairman and founder of the Scottish Gin Society which sponsors the competition, congratulated all the winners in what he said was a “very tough” competition.
He continued: “We’ve worked very hard to establish the credibility, integrity and impartiality of the Scottish Gin Awards and the turnout from the Scottish distillers has reflected the importance in which they already place the programme. Winning a Scottish Gin Award is a huge opportunity to further the promotion of Scottish gin brands at home, across the UK and abroad.”
The competition combined a section on written entries with a taste competition. In the taste sessions, 75 Scottish gins were scored by 12 judges in a blind tasting. The top 50 per cent of all scores were promoted to a finalist position with the top three performers awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in each of six categories.
The awards, which will now become an annual fixture and will be hosted in Edinburgh next year, also raised funds for two charities, the New Opera in Scotland Events (NOISE) and It’s Good 2 Give, the small charity which has recently opened a world class respite home,The Ripple Retreat, for families who have children with cancer.