Crafty Distillery wins Distillery of the Year
The national awards programme which celebrates excellence in Scottish gin has revealed the best gins made in Scotland as part of its 4th annual competition.
The Scottish Gin Awards is the largest gin competition in the UK and revealed its winners last night following a rigorous judging process involving 38 leading experts, the assessment of 85 written entries and the blind tasting of 194 gins, all distilled in Scotland.
The ultimate award, Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, was presented to Crafty Distillery in Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway, following a year in which it had achieved international growth while maintaining its locally crafted, high quality product values.
The team behind Hills & Harbour Gin were praised for achieving a perfect balance between provenance, sustainability, sales growth, and product quality. Judges commended evidence that it had extended its reach across the UK and globally with a series of new and extended distribution deals.
The biggest product award of the night went to Port of Leith Distillery who won The Gold Award for London Dry Gin of the Year for their Lind and Lime Gin. The product fought off competition from 51 finalists in the most popular category of the night.
The Silver Award was presented to Eidyn Gin (Pronounced Eden) a collaboration between The Old Curiosity Distillery in Midlothian and ALDI.
The Bronze Award was presented to a small batch gin, The Purist Gin made by a lockdown start up, Designer Spirits with Distillutions of Arbroath.
Chair of the judging panel, Adam Hardie, Head of Food and Drink for Johnston Carmichael, commented, “Congratulations to all our Scottish gin businesses for their achievements in this most challenging of years. Despite the head winds, the Scottish Gin industry has demonstrated its creativity, resilience, and determination to succeed, while maintaining our status as creators of some of the best gin in the world.
“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 this year’s winners will take the opportunity to promote their successes and increase their sales, in what was the largest and toughest competition to date.”
The distillery which scored the highest in the taste competition was Moray distiller, El:gin Findrassie, who collected two Gold Medals for El:Gin Speyside Heather Honey (Flavoured Gin) and El:Gin Moray Berry (Gin Liqueur) MacIntosh Gin and McQueen Gin also performed well collecting a Gold Medal and a Silver Medal each while Edinburgh Gin collected three medals, two Silver and one Bronze.
In the business categories, Eden Mill of St Andrews collected three awards for Best Branding Experience, Excellence in Branding and Product Development Team of the Year.
The news of the winners was announced at a live digital event broadcast from the Glasgow Doubletree by Hilton Hotel by host, the comedian Des Clarke. Over 250 guests from across the UK logged on to participate in the digital event which was highly interactive involving 40 virtual tables designed in a virtual Awards Room. Guests enjoyed 1:1 live chat, table to table chat and sent messages of support to all guests.
The annual awards are supported throughout the year by support sponsors Schweppes, Vetroelite, Scottish Distillers Association, Cara Technology, Wolffe and Vision Events Glasgow. Three award sponsors also supported the event on the night presenting categories sponsored by Halewood, Rankin Brothers & Sons and The Gin Cooperative.
The competition founded by KDMedia in 2016, developed the blind tasting and scoring regime with the award winning, international sensory management consultancy, Cara Technology. Their sensory experts moderated tastings over several carefully designed sessions when samples were despatched in batches to judges to judge from home. All judges had to participate in a live Zoom to make sure that all samples were judged at the same time, to eliminate any outside environmental factors.
194 gins were analysed based on a 5-point scoring system with judges recording scores for aroma, appearance, taste, and an overall score. The results were compiled using these four scores, plus an average score taken from the appearance, aroma, and taste marks. The gins were then ranked based on their overall score average to produce the winners.
Only three medals are presented in every category making the Scottish Gin Awards tough to win and highly sought after.