North and north-east gin-makers are celebrating new deals which will see their drinks go on the shelves of Co-op food stores throughout Scotland.
Co-operative Group said yesterday it saw “significant potential” for unusual, premium and crafted gins.
A recent surge in UK gin-making, in response to a consumer phenomenon dubbed the “ginaissance”, has led the Co-op to order supplies – initially for 70 of its Scottish stores – from Elgin-based spirit producer and distributor Gordon and MacPhail (G&M).
The Co-op will, as a result, be selling gins made by Scottish producers including Gordon Castle in Fochabers, Balmenach Distillery (Caorunn) in Cromdale, Orkney Distilling (Kirkjuvagr) in Kirkwall, Shetland Distillery Company (Shetland Reel) on Unst, Rock Rose at Dunnet, near Thurso, and Langstane Liquor Company (Porter’s) in Aberdeen.
Husband-and-wife team Stephen and Aly Kemp at Orkney Distilling sold their first gins just under a year ago and are now toasting a first listing with a national retailer.
Mr Kemp said: “We are delighted – Aly and myself had spoken for so long about creating a gin brand to add to the quality branded food and drink that exports from Orkney.
“It was a dream and we knew we would regret it if we didn’t seize the chance.
“A listing with the Co-op is great news, and comes at a perfect time as we seek to increase volume.
“It opens up new markets for our gin, raising awareness of our brand at a key time in our business development.”
The Co-op said it had seen record demand for gin, with the drink out-performing the wider spirit market and sales surging nearly 15% over the past year.
It estimated sales of Scottish gin could be worth up to £500,000 over the next year at the stores involved in the initial roll-out of new products announced yesterday.
Jonathan Grey, spirits buyer for the group, added: “Gin is an exciting category, with new drinks, flavours and trends emerging and growth for both established brands and new entrants.
“Gin is out-performing the spirit sector and we see significant potential for further sustained growth, in particular for the more diverse, premium and crafted gins which use local, natural botanicals chosen for quality and taste.”
Charlotte Bleasdale, ranging manager for the Co-op in Scotland, said the Co-op was “committed to investing in its local communities and providing opportunities to showcase and celebrate great local food and drink”.
G&M account manager Fiona Fullarton said: “The gin category continues to enjoy growth and in particular there is strong interest in small niche products.”