The national independent awards programme for Scottish gin has today launched its 4th annual competition with a range of new business categories as part of a refreshed line-up.

The Scottish Gin Awards has introduced a new sustainability category that will reward the promotion of sustainable business practices in gin production.  The competition also sees two new team awards introduced which will reward sales and product development talent in the industry.

The popular blind tasting competition which last year saw continued growth with a phenomenal 173 gins assessed, returns with 8 categories including London Dry, High Strength and Cask Aged alongside the popular flavoured gins and gin liqueur categories.

The judging panel is now preparing to assess the industry’s talented teams and businesses and will be chaired this year for the first time, by Adam Hardie, Partner and Head of Food & Drink at Edinburgh-based accountants Johnston Carmichael.  He commented;

 “I am honoured to be asked to chair the judging panel for the Scottish Gin Awards, having served as a judge on the programme since its launch in 2017.  I am especially pleased to welcome our new judges this year and look forward to assessing the many distilleries and products.  Research shows that increasing profile and winning medals leads to increased sales so the Scottish Gin Awards is a must for any gin business in Scotland.”

Adam welcomes 11 new judges to this year’s panel of experts from across the UK, including representation from UK distilleries including Sipsmith, Portobello Road Gin and Whitley Neill.

Full details including the category line-up, entry guide and terms and conditions are available on the Scottish Gin Awards website and entrants have until Monday 20th April to prepare and submit their work for consideration. 

The competition welcomes returning sponsors in 2020 including Schweppes, Scottish Distillers Association, Wolffe and Vetroelite who sponsor of the coveted Gin of the Year award.  

This year’s winners will be announced at the Scottish Gin Awards celebration and dinner which takes place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Thursday 1st October 2020.  The awards will again support The BEN, the Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland.

For details on available sponsorship opportunities, please contact


 The 2020 Judging Panel:

Alan Barclay, Spirits Consultant
Kirsty Black, Head Distiller, Arbikie
Blair Bowman, Spirits Consultant
Sarah Brown, Founder, Craft Gin Hour
Sian Buchan, Co-Owner, Uno Mas Bar
Jake F Burger, Director, Portobello Road Gin
Matt Burns, Creative Director, Thirst Craft
Mike Carthy, Co-Founder & Managing Director, The Spirit of Harrogate
Geraldine Coates, Editor,
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive, The Scottish Tourism Alliance
Rob Dorsett, Master Distiller, Langley Distillery
Jamie Faulds, Director, 3rdparty
Adrian Gomes, Managing Director & Bar Consultant, The Tippling House / Single Estate Spirits
Adam Hardie, Partner & Head of Food & Drink, Johnston Carmichael
Ally Hardy, Director, Craft 56
Craig Harper, On-Trade Manager, Fever-Tree
Annie Hill, Associate Professor & Programme Director, International Centre for Brewing & Distilling, Heriot Watt University
John Kennedy, Commercial Controller, Halewood Wines & Spirits
Martin Luney, Managing Director, Big Red Teapot
Gregor Maclean, Director, Huffmans Ltd.
Sean Murphy, Food & Drink Writer, The Scotsman
Tom Nichol, Distiller & Consultant
Johnny Neill, Founder, Whitley Neill
Matthew Pauley, Associate Professor, International Centre for Brewing & Distilling, Heriot Watt University
Desmond Payne MBE, Master Distiller, Beefeater Distillery
Jim Rankin, Managing Director, Rankin Brothers & Sons
David Reid, Director, Because Brands Matter
Nigel Robertson, Account Manager, Johnnie Walker GB, Diageo
Ciarán Russell, Liquid Innovations Manager, Sipsmith
Alasdair Shaw, General Manager, The Gate
Pete Sherry, Owner, The Beer Hive
Emma Stokes, Founder, World Gin Day
James Sutherland, Owner, 56 North
Karen Walker, Marketing Consultant
Stuart Watts, Site Leader (Girvan), William Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd
Alan Wolstenholme, Honorary Professor, International Centre for Brewing & Distilling, Heriot Watt University   

The Business Performance Categories

Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year
Best Newcomer
Growth Business of the Year – Sponsored by Halewood Wines & Spirits
Best Marketing Campaign
Excellence in Branding
Best Brand Experience - Sponsored by Rankin Brothers & Sons
NEW - Excellence in Sustainability – Sponsored by MacRoberts
NEW - Sales Team of the Year
NEW - Product Development Team of the Year
Scottish Gin Destination of the Year
Scottish Gin Event of the Year – Sponsored by Schweppes

The Taste Performance Categories

London Dry Gin of the Year sponsored by Franklin & Sons
Distilled Gin of the Year
High Strength Gin of the Year
Cask Gin of the Year
Old Tom Gin of the Year
Flavoured Gin of the Year
Fruit Flavoured Gin of the Year
Gin Liqueur of the Year