The gin boom is in full flow. Gone are the days of having one choice, Gordon's with tonic, and that was your lot. Fast forward to today and there are more than 110 Scottish gins in production and more than 60 distilleries currently producing gin in Scotland. It is now a massive business.
It's hardly surprising that whisky distillers are looking to gin as it is quicker and easier to make, and provides a faster return while waiting for whisky to mature. There has been an onslaught of new 'Scottish' brands hitting the market, however, there is some concern amongst the industry about what is truly a Scottish gin, as some gin producers are not distilling the spirit on their premises, prompting the question, can they label it as a Scottish product?
The Scottish Gin Society recently announced the results of their online pole, asking what is the nation's favourite Scottish gin. With more than 6400 votes, the voting public selected Isle of Harris gin as the overwhelming favourite. However, some of the smaller craft gin distilleries also enjoyed success and we have spoken to three small distillers to find out their back story and why being included in the top ten of Scotland's favourite gins is a boost to their business.

The Scottish Farmer:

First up is KIRKUVAGR GIN from Orkney Distillery

Winning awards isn’t what motivates you to create a top class, craft gin, but it’s a lovely compliment when you win them.
Kirkjuvagr gin, from the Orkney Distillery, based in Kirkwall, picked up fourth place in the nation’s favourite gin list, which was polled by The Scottish Gin Society. That’s a nice place to be sitting just two years into production. Another one of their gins, Arkh Angell, picked up a gold award in the World Gin Awards in the navy-strength gin category.
Stephen and Aly Kemp, both born and bred Orcadians really wanted to create a high-quality brand for Orkney that reflected the place and its characteristics. They started Orkney Distilling in 2016 and having gauged that there was a market for their product, invested in opening a visitor centre in 2018.
Kirkjuvagr (the Norse name for Kirkwall), was their first gin, but the range now extends to four different flavours (and strengths). 
There’s Kirkjuvagr, Arkh Angell, Aurora, and Harpa, all distilled on the island. The unique flavours found in the Orkney brands comes from their blend of 19 botanicals, many of which which are grown on Orkney.  
The company are working in conjunction with the Agronomy Institute of the University of the Highlands and Island to grow some of the botanicals needed to ensure the high standards needed to maintain the unique flavour.
Producing with small traditional copper pot stills, Orkney Distillery has developed a strong market for its gin, gaining local support, and a strong online customer base. Orkney, and Kirkwall in particular, welcomes cruise ships full of tourists to the island and a home-made, premium product such as their range of gins, is a fantastic advertisement for buying Scottish.
The visitor centre offers visitors more than just a shop to buy their favourite tipple. There is a café, shop, and the centre is open for tours every day and you can also book yourself onto a gin making experience, which allows you to pick your own botanicals from a list of 30 under the experienced eye of their distiller.
Future plans are looking rosy… well, more pink. Plans are afoot to create a pink gin, which is very on trend at the moment. I look forward to trying that over tonic and some ice.

Next we speak to Redcastle Gin, produced in Angus, Scotland.