The festive period is upon us, so what better time to highlight some of Edinburgh’s fantastic alcohol producers? Anna Hamilton, food writer and operator of capital supper club Alright Treacle, advises you to keep your Christmas tipples local and invest in Auld Reekie.
Summerhall Distillery, Summerhall, Edinburgh EH9 1PL, pickeringsgin.com, 0131 290 2901. Open for visits Mon-Fri noon-4pm.
Once upon a time, a man was given a note by a pal from Bombay, and on this note was a recipe for gin. Many years later, after the passing of his father, it finally came in to the hands of Marcus Pickering, who decided that it was about time the recipe had a renaissance, and so Pickering’s was born. Founded by Pickering and Matthew Gamuell, the emphasis is on quality, choosing the best ingredients possible from around the world to create a unique, small batch blend from their wee distillery in Summerhall.
Summerhall Place, Edinburgh EH9 1QH, barneysbeer.com, 07512 253660.
If you prefer your brew created with ‘no monkey business’, then Barney’s Beer is the one. Also a Summerhall resident, founder Andrew 'Barney' Barnett began brewing from a very young age, and it's clear that a life-long passion for beer is bubbling away. The site is small, which was apparently a hindrance during the festival when his awesome ales couldn't be produced quick enough. However, I like his walk-before-running approach, and artistic eye for branding, which includes collaborations with John Byrne and Ryoko Tamura, and his Red Rye and Volcano IPA have already won him plenty of accolades.
Heads & Tales Bar, 1a Rutland Place, Edinburgh EH1 2AD, edinburghgindistillery.co.uk, 0131 656 2810. Open Tue-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun-Mon noon-4pm.
The family run Edinburgh Gin was founded in 2010 by Alex and Jane Nicol, who wanted to please Edinburgh’s burgeoning gin swillers with innovative and punchy spirits. Originally produced out of town, they have been based at the vaults of Heads & Tales Bar for the last six months, distilling in a very pretty piece of kit, and running a selection of tours from basic to connoisseur, with the additional opportunity of making your own gin, using their special selection of botanicals. Their recent Christmas offering includes the ever so holy frankincense and myrrh, which according to head distiller David Wilkinson, took a mere 15 attempts before scented success.
11 Stewartfield, Edinburgh EH6 5RQ, kraftybrew.com, 0131 555 7189. Open Tue-Sat 11am-6pm.
After getting very lost on a dark winter’s night trying to find Krafty Brew (with no phone battery), I finally arrived at a rather nondescript door, behind which there lived what turned out to be a beer making tardis. Founded by Michael Ward and Marcus Doherty, Krafty brings to the market the magic of bespoke brewing for all, without the mess and hassle of doing it at home. You can choose the flavours, design your labels and play computer games whilst you wait – dreamy, I know. Not missing a trick, those crafty brewers have also recently received an order of casks to sell their suds in, and come the weekend, the brewery turns into it's own music venue for knock-out public and private events.
Pilot Beer Limited
22 Jane Street, Edinburgh EH6 5HD, pilotbeer.co.uk, 0131 561 4267.
Cask and keg connoisseurs Pilot have been trading their creative brews off Leith Walk for the last year, founded by Patrick Jones and Matt Johnson, who met at the much acclaimed beer Mecca – Herriot-Watt. Their pared down branding and unfussy approach has already awarded them with a steady following and recent first place at the Bow Bar beer festival for their mochaccino stout, which includes roasted coffee, cacao nibs and Madagascan vanilla. All their beers are unfined, which creates a cloudier appearance, but means that they're suitable for vegetarians, as finings are found in the bladder of a sturgeon fish - you can thank me for that the next time you're drinking a pint!
Alright Treacle is a supper club that operates on Saturday nights from an Edinburgh city centre location. Their next event is a Best of 2014-themed evening on Sat Jan 17 - visit alright-treacle.com for more info and booking. In addition to Alright Treacle, Anna also blogs about food at itsrudetostare.com and tweets @alrighttreacles