Arbikie crowned Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year

Scottish Gin Awards winners

Congratulations to Arbikie Distilling, which scooped the top award – Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year – at the inaugural Scottish Gin Awards held recently in Glasgow.

Arbikie triumphed after its 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. It also collected the bronze medal in the Cask Gin taste competition for “Cask Aged Kirsty’s Gin”.

However, it was a new gin from Dundee which was the surprise star of the event. Verdant Dry Gin, which created its first batch in May of this year, saw off competition from 16 other contenders to win the gold medal in 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. There was no award for best-named gin, although El-Gin would surely have bagged that as well.

Awards were also presented for business performance covering business growth, innovation, marketing with the Isle of Harris Distillery winning the highly sought-after Excellence in Branding award.

Chair of the judging panel, Stephen White, founder of the Scottish Gin Society which sponsored the competition, commented: “Very many congratulations to the winners in the first ever Scottish Gin Awards, I hope that all the medallists and winners take the opportunity to promote their wins in what was a very tough competition.

“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, designed and operated by PR and Events company, KDMedia, 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 adjudicated by the international sensory management consultancy, Cara Technology. The top 50% 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 named The Ripple Retreat, for families who have children with cancer.

The winners in full

Gold Silver Bronze
Navy Strength NB Navy Strength Gin Navy Strength Cannonball Gin Navy Strength Rock Rose Gin
Cask Aged Makar Cask Aged Gin – Matured in Oak Firkin Gin Cask Aged Kirsty’s Gin
Distilled Gin El:Gin Edinburgh Gin – Valentine’s Gin Kirkjuvagr Gin
London Dry Verdant Dry Gin Caorunn Small Batch Scottish Gin Edinburgh Gin – Seaside Gin
Liqueur Edinburgh Gin – Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur Edinburgh Gin – Plum & Vanilla Liqueur Gin Bothy Amaretto Infused Liqueur
Speciality Gin Makar Old Tom Persie Sweet & Nutty Old Tom Eden Mill Hop Gin