The number of new distilleries in Scotland has more than doubled in the last three years, according to research from UHY Hacker Young

Francesca Washtell
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Five new distilleries were opened in Scotland in 2013, compared to 12 last year (Source: Getty)

Artisan alcohol has continued its indomitable rise over the last three years and new research suggests Scotch whisky could be about to join favourites such as craft beer and craft gin.

The number of new distilleries in Scotland has more than doubled since 2013, research from nationwide accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young released today showed.

Five new distilleries were opened in Scotland in 2013, while this trebled to 15 in 2014, with 12 opening in 2015.

In Northern Ireland, which has a population of less than two million people, 10 new distilleries were opened in 2015, while in England 28 were launched.

UHY Hacker Young have said the increasing demand for boutique spirits pushed up the number of distilleries opened across the UK in 2015, which reached a total of 56, in particular a new "gin-aissance" in England.

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But across the border, the demand for boutique is more likely to be for whisky, although newly-distilled whiskies from Scotland won't be released for some time, as the distilling process usually takes at least three years.

"Gin distillers are able to generate revenue more quickly than whisky producers who have to wait for the whisky to fully mature - there’s likely to be many distilleries producing both gin and whisky simultaneously, but the whisky products won’t be available on the high street for some time," James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young, said.

Murdoch MacLennan, head of brewing and distilling at Campbell Dallas, said: "Over the last five years we have seen significant investment in both the brewing and distilling sector in Scotland. This has not only come from well established operators but also from new, small craft breweries and smaller scale distilleries.

"We have seen new facilities built, old distilleries brought to life, existing production being expanded creating additional jobs and wonderful product. In addition some new whisky distilleries are diversifying into gin production to improve their short term cash flow situation while they lay their whisky stock to mature for future sale."

A report released in February by the Scotch Whisky Association found whisky creates 40,000 jobs and supports the salaries of over £1.4bn UK workers.

Approximately 89 per cent - or £1.3bn worth - of salaries generated by the sector are paid to Scottish workers, while the remaining £152m goes to workers elsewhere in the UK.

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