Gin distillers on ‘cloud nine’ at Scottish awards

Des Clarke, Emma O'Bryen, Emili Fusaro, Niall Macalister Hall, Kenny Macalister Hall and Kaye Adams after Kintyre Gin was named Best Newcomer at the Scottish Gin Awards.

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By Mark Davey

A Kintyre spirit was uncorked as best newcomer at the second annual Scottish Gin Awards.

Last Thursday Beinn an Turic distiller Niall Macalister Hall was on ‘cloud nine’ after Kintyre Gin scooped the award and narrowly missed out on the Excellence in Branding Award.

Mr Macalister Hall’s brother Kenny, who is responsible for the branding and his wife Emili Fusaro were feted at the star studded ceremony, attended by 600 people, featuring Loose Women’s Kaye Adams and comedian Des Clarke.

‘We were utterly delighted to be announced as the winners in the Best Newcomer Category,’ said Emma Macalister Hall, ‘We were nominated in two categories – Best Newcomer and the Excellence in Branding Award which was announced first.

‘Sadly we missed out which was a bit of a blow as we have had such brilliant feedback about our branding.

‘Offshoot Design who came up with it have done a consistently brilliant job.

‘That’s the way it goes sometimes though! Well done to the Electric Spirit Company who scooped the prize.

‘A few announcements later and it was time for the Best Newcomer award.

‘Tension mounted in the room – Niall and Kenny were at separate tables as guests of MCC Labels and Kimia respectively, whilst I stayed at home in Kintyre, glued to the phone.’

The next day on Twitter Mrs Macalister Hall said everyone was still on ‘cloud nine.’

The Newcomers Award was a busy category, with eight businesses altogether and  as the first announcement was for the highly commended firm.

This went to Crafty Distillers who make Hills and Harbour Gin.

Mr Macalister Hall said: ‘With all still to play for, nerves were palpable but the trauma was over when compare Des Clark read out Beinn an Tuirc Distillers as the winner.

‘Shrieks of joy ensued and we trouped up to the stage to accept the award.

‘It was presented by Scotland Food and drink’s Emma O’Brien who we met when she attended our Gintyre festival as brand ambassador for Harris Gin.’

The awards were selected by experts with a wide range of distilling experience and included: Alex Bruce the judging panel chairman and director of Adelphi Distillery; Annie Hill associate professor at Heriot-Watt University’s International Centre for Brewing and Distilling and Alan Wolstenholme the chairman of the Scottish Craft Distillers Association.

Mr Macalister Hall added: ‘What a fabulous night. We are over the moon to be recognised as quality producers in the Scottish gin industry.

‘It is a busy market but we are more than holding our own and hope to build on the success of our first year in business.’

From left comedian Des Clarke and Scotland Food and Drink’s  Emma O’Bryen with far right Loose Women’s Kaye Adams presented Emili Fusaro, Niall Macalister Hall and Kenny Macalister Hall of Kintyre Gin, with the Best Newcomer at the Scottish Gin Awards. NO_c39ginawards01