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Scottish Gin Awards

Finalists announced for Scotland’s top gins

The finalists in the 4th annual Scottish Gin Awards have been announced with 65 companies and 154 gins progressing to the final stage of the annual competition which celebrates Scotland’s thriving gin industry.

In the wide-ranging competition which covers a range of business and taste categories, the awards were judged by a highly experienced and respected panel of experts from across the gin industry in the UK.

In the competition’s strongest year since its launch in 2017, a judging panel of 26 tasters blind tasted and graded every sample under strict technical conditions which were moderated in supervised sessions. 

Led by the competition’s technical consultants, sensory management experts Cara Technology, the panel assessed 194 gins entered in the competition, all distilled in Scotland.

Six businesses will compete for the ultimate award, the Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, sponsored by Schweppes and these are Crafty Scottish Distillers; Glasgow Distillery Company; Isle of Skye Distillers;  John Crabbie & Co;  McQueen Gin and The Port of Leith Distillery.

Chairman of the judging panel, Adam Hardie, commented;

“To make it to the final stage of the Scottish Gin Awards is a huge achievement so congratulations must go to all these businesses who are operating at the top of their game in Scottish gin. 

“For the consumer, this list is important as it is a comprehensive study for any gin fan looking for high quality Scottish products which taste great. 

“They have all achieved the rating of a highly regarded panel of independent experts in gin production from across the UK.  We look forward to celebrating the news of the winners when we gather as an industry next week in a digital celebration.”

The competition was amended this year when judges could not meet in person due to COVID restrictions.  Samples were blind coded, decanted and distributed to the homes of the judging panel.  

Judging blind under consistent conditions was important so the revised process eliminated as many environmental influences as possible. Working in a series of sessions over several days, the judges tasted the same products at the same time and, without discussion, marked each product on taste, appearance, and aroma.

The winners will be announced at the Scottish Gin Awards 2020, a live digital event which will be broadcast from the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Glasgow by comedian Des Clarke.  The event is open to registered ticket holders only who will be able to network with fellow guests, participate in video interviews and celebrate all the winners.  Details on how to attend the event can be found HERE.

The awards, created and designed by KDMedia in 2016, are also a fundraiser for The BEN, the Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland.

A list of finalists can be seen here

2020 Highlights

  • 194 gins were entered in the 2020 awards, a 12% increase on the 2019 awards.
  • The products were entered by 71 organisations all distilling in Scotland and consisting of distilleries, contract distilleries and supermarket collaborations.
  • 154 gins have made the 2020 finals up from 116 gins in 2019 and 80 gins in 2018.
  • The taste finalists are created on a points-based system. Products scoring above a total average mark of 5.0 out of a possible 10 are progressed to the finals.
  • The most popular category is London Dry Gin with 51 products in the finals.
  • The categories with the biggest increase in products entered in 2020 compared to 2019 is Distilled Gin (up by 44%) and Fruit Flavoured Gin (up by 42%). 

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