Glasgow’s first gin to launch next monthBy Becky Paskin
The Glasgow Distillery Company (GDC) has won the race to become the Scottish city’s first gin and malt whisky distillery in 100 years with the release of Makar Glasgow Gin.
The Hillington Business Park distillery, owned by drinks industry veteran Liam Hughes and accountant Ian McDougall, is ready to begin production of the city’s first gin in September.
Named Makar Glasgow Gin, after the Gaelic word for poet or bard, the 43% abv dry gin will be juniper-led and contain rosemary and black peppercorns among its botanicals.
The £10 million Glasgow Distillery and Visitors’ Centre, led by AD Rattray’s Tim Morrison, situated on the banks of the Clyde, was given the green light to begin construction earlier this summer, but will not produce whisky until late 2015.
Part-funded by a group of Asian food and drink investors as well as a £130,000 Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant, GDC will release its first bottles of Makar from its 450-litre artisan gin still in October.
Production of the Glasgow’s first whisky in 100 years will begin shortly after once the distillery has taken delivery of two whisky pot stills.
The site will also feature a wash back, four fermentation tanks, a hot water tank, bottling line and maturation warehouses. The building itself has been leased from logistics group John G Russell, which will andle GDC’s warehousing and distribution.
“Our whisky stills will be here in October; we deliberately phased it so we had our gin operation running before the whisky still arrived,” Hughes told The Spirits Business. “Our style will lend towards a lowland style, light and fresh but we have loads of scope for experimentation along the way and our distillers have some really interesting ideas that we want to explore.”
To help fund the project before GDC’s whisky matures, whisky enthusiasts are being invited to join the company’s 1770 Club – the name of which is inspired by Glasgow’s original distillery, which ran from 1770 until 1902 – and purchase up to 200 litres of whisky ahead of time.
Despite operating the distillery just a few miles away from Morrison’s operation, Hughes is certain “Glasgow is more than big enough for many distilleries”.
“As I understand it, Tim’s project is very different to ours in any case,” he said. “Our hope is that there will be many distilleries in Glasgow in the next few years and that we will all work together to help make the Glasgow association with distilling a by-word for quality across the globe. There are after all eight distilleries on Islay.”
Hughes added that Makar Gin could become an export brand by 2015.