You may never have heard of this Scottish distillery, but Distillutions, based in Arbroath produces many of the gins we know and love. In fact, some of the winning gins at the recent Scottish Gin Awards and The Scottish Gin Society Consumer Choice Awards 2019 – Lenzie Gin, Mackintosh Gin, Redcastle Gin (before they got their own still) and Crag & Tail were all created there.
We were lucky to be invited to meet the team – Distillutions is a family-run business, with Lewis Scothern at the distilling helm; father Paul on the engineering side; and Alison – Lewis’ mother making sure that the operations all run smoothly. Not forgetting Lewis’s wife Amy who is currently on maternity leave, with their son Max; and Vali who is an integral part of the team.
Lewis started out working in a brewery during his time studying Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University. He then expanded his knowledge by learning the art of distilling just outside his hometown of Arbroath. With Paul and Alison’s experience in running their own business, the idea of opening a distillery formed and Distillutions was conceived.
The concept of Distillutions is a simple one – to help brands make premium spirits. The team support many brands who have a dream of making gin (rum, vodka and liqueurs) but currently don’t have their own distillery. Many of the brands the team work with have the ambition to open their own distillery, but Distillutions gives them the start that they need to get their product to market. Unlike other distilleries that contract distil gin for brands, the family have no plans to launch their own products.
The service they offer is completely bespoke, meaning that brands can be as hands on as they want to be. Some of the brands are involved in the distilling process and even the bottling and labelling of the gin; while others are more hands-off and leave the process to Lewis and the team.
Recipe development is done on a custom-built 10l still – which is Paul’s handiwork, and there is also a 50l still and 200l still for production. When we visited, they had just unpacked a new 380l still. Due to the nature of the stills, development and scaling up works perfectly, so the gin created in the 10l still is exactly the same as what comes from the bigger stills.
The stills are stripped after every distillation, so there is no cross-contamination from one run to the next, thus ensuring each gin run is perfect.
We had such a great time visiting the team at Distillutions, seeing their set up and discussing our views on the future of Scottish Gin (as well as all manner of other gin-related tales). We always say this, no two distilleries are the same, but this one is certainly unique.