Crossbill Distillery
Barras Art & Design Centre


History: Back in 2009 architect Jonathan Engels launched a Scottish vodka called Pincer. The spirit really caught the imagination, mainly because many Scottish products that weren’t whisky back then.

However, it wasn’t long until Jonathan and his business partners were moving on to a new, growing category. Crossbill Gin was launched in 2014 in Inshriach Distillery near Aviemore in what was a battered old hen house transformed into a gin palace. In 2017 Jonathan took the big step of moving production from the Highlands to the heart of Glasgow’s iconic Barras market, where he also launched The Hatchery Laboratory & Gin School. Two years on and due to the success of the school they are already planning on extending the current operation into the building next door.

The gin: Crossbill, named after the Scottish bird, is a unique gin within the already diverse gin market. Its owner has always done things differently and wanted to create a gin with a difference.

It uses 100% Scottish Juniper – something I didn’t even know we grew up here. With the help of the Forestry Commission and, Crossbill stated to grow Scottish juniper that can only be found in the ancient Caledonian pine forests. The other thing is that Crossbill only has two botanicals in its recipe – juniper and rosehip. This is rare as most gins have anywhere between five and 15.

Four brands are made at this distillery – Crossbill Gin; a limited edition Gin 200 which contains juniper from a specimen that is over 200 years old; a Pineapple Gin Liqueur which contains juniper and fresh pineapple distilled together then vatted in seasoned Pedro Ximenez casks with roasted fresh pineapple and ginger; and lastly a Sumac Gin which was created to celebrate the natural habitat of the Scottish Crossbill’s cousin, the North American Red Crossbill.

Why visit? Moving to the Barras Art & Design centre meant Crossbill could not only up their production but could also offer more to a bigger active audience.

The Hatchery Laboratory & Gin School was built to give people a real insight into one of the country’s most fascinating gins. If you are really into your gin then for £110 you and a friend can experience what it is like to create your own gin under the watchful eye of Jonathan himself. You will select your own botanical recipe and distil it in a miniature copper pot still before filling a personalised bottle and taking it home to impress your friends.