The national independent awards programme for the Scottish Gin industry has opened for sponsorship as the 2021 competition launches today with a promise to recognise achievements in gin distilling despite the challenges of the last year.

The Scottish Gin Awards is being planned as a hybrid event which will combine the format of a digital broadcast, together with the return of the live dinner, scheduled for Wednesday 27 October in Glasgow.

This year’s programme has introduced new business categories as part of a refreshed line-up. Best Digital Experience will reward talents of Scottish Gin producers in developing digital experiences and Excellence in Social Media will recognise the strategic efforts of marketing teams to develop and grow their brands using social and digital media.

Another new award, Retailer of the Year is open to wholesalers, supermarkets, specialist retailers, or producers, dedicated to the sale of Scottish gin.

The blind tasting competition returns with 8 categories including London Dry, High Strength and Old Tom alongside the popular flavoured gins and gin liqueur categories.

Entrants have until Wednesday 28 July 2021 to complete their submissions. The finalists will be revealed in September.

The 2021 awards continue to raise funds for the appointed charity; The BEN, which supports people of all ages who have worked in the licensed trade for at least three years full-time with beneficiaries receiving annual financial assistance as well as discretionary grants for emergency situations.

For further information on entering the competition visit

The 2021 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

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

Gregor Maclean, Director, Huffmans Ltd.

Sean Murphy, Food & Drink Writer, The Scotsman

Johnny Neill, Founder, Whitley Neill

Tom Nichol, Distiller & Consultant

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

Martin Reid, Co-Founder, The Gin Cooperative

Natalie Reid, Co-Founder, The Gin Cooperative

Nigel Robertson, Account Manager, Johnnie Walker GB, Diageo

Ciarán Russell, Liquid Innovations Manager, Sipsmith

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 

Alan Wolstenholme, Honorary Professor, International Centre for Brewing & Distilling, Heriot Watt University  


The Business Performance Categories:

  • Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year
  • Best Newcomer
  • NEW - Best Digital Experience
  • Excellence in Branding
  • NEW - Excellence in Social Media
  • NEW - Retailer of the Year
  • Excellence in Sustainability
  • Sales Team of the Year
  • Product Development Team of the Year

The Taste Performance Categories:

  • Fruit Flavoured Gin of the Year
  • Old Tom Gin of the Year
  • High Strength Gin of the Year
  • London Dry Gin of the Year
  • Distilled Gin of the Year
  • Cask Gin of the Year
  • Flavoured Gin of the Year
  • Gin Liqueur of the Year