Scots distil strongest vodka

AT 88.8 per cent proof it is the strongest vodka in the world. Yet it doesn't come from Russia, or even Poland, but Broxburn, West Lothian.

Pincer Shanghai Strength, distilled by Scottish vodka company Pincer, has been created for the Chinese export market, where the number eight is considered particularly lucky. Packaged in a black and gold bottle and priced at 85, a limited run of bottles will also be available for purchase in the UK.

But alcohol campaigners have criticised the firm for putting such a strong drink on the market. "This is yet again another small alcohol producer ignoring obvious health hazards by marketing extremely strong alcohol," said Barbara O'Donnell, director of services for Alcohol Focus Scotland.

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"Although the number of bottles produced is small and will only attract a certain market, it still shows an irresponsible approach when Scotland faces massive alcohol problems."

In July Scottish brewery Brewdog launched End of History, the world's strongest beer. At 55 per cent proof it cost 500 a bottle and came stuffed into a dead stoat.

Scotland is also home to the world's strongest gin, Blackwood Vintage Dry Gin 60, which is 60 per cent proof, and the world's strongest whisky, Bruichladdich X4, which, at 91.2 per cent proof, was laid down four years ago and is still maturing at the Islay distillery.

Tom Wood, head of the Association of Scottish Alcohol and Drug Action Teams, said: "It has become a bit of a niche market. There are others brewing strong beers and whiskies and there's a case for doing that. These sorts of drinks won't be drunk by huge amounts of people because of the price, so they won't have a huge detrimental effect."