A new Scottish gin trail has been launched to celebrate the drink that ministers hope could become as popular as whisky.
The map showcasing 12 of Scotland’s best craft distilleries, bars and landmarks has been released to coincide with Burns Night, with visitors encouraged to mark the occasion with gin rather than the traditional whisky.
About 70 per cent of the UK’s gin is produced in Scotland and international exports are booming, up 37 per cent in the past five years with sales to 139 countries.
More than two-thirds of the gin distilled in the UK now goes to overseas drinkers, with gin bringing £1.76 billion to the economy. The number of UK gin brands has also more than doubled since 2010 from 31 to 73, with new brands often using locally-sourced ingredients and natural botanicals.
The new Scottish trail has been put together by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), with the support of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and was launched at the Edinburgh Gin Distillery.
From Shetland Reel Gin on the UK’s most northerly inhabited island of Unst, the trail winds its way south to craft distilleries in the Highlands, Fife and the central belt.
Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “From premium brands, such as Hendricks, to craft distillers such as Crossbill, this new trail captures the variety and diversity of UK gin-making, providing visitors from all over the world the opportunity to celebrate Burns Night by experiencing the best of British gin from all across Scotland. I want to harness the ambition of our Scottish gin-trepreneurs, helping them to grow the UK’s reputation for quality gin both here and abroad.
“I want to see it up there with Scotch whisky in terms of global sales.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “Our distillers are creating some really unique gins through experimenting with techniques from the whisky industry and using new blends of local botanicals - it’s exciting to see such innovation within the great British tradition of gin distilling.”
Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “This is a hugely exciting time for everyone involved in the UK gin industry and our gin trail is the start of a fascinating venture to share the origins, art and innovations involved in producing this Great British spirit.”
Alex Nicol, owner of Edinburgh Gin, said: “Hopefully the trail will assist the work the industry is doing to educate and inspire new and old gin drinkers alike.”