Dumfries and Galloway might not quite have the exalted whisky history of the Highlands and Islands, but the distilleries here have quietly turned out excellent whiskies for years.
More recently, a number of gin distilleries have opened up. This part of Scotland is already known as a foodie destination, and we're here to tell you that we think it's a great place for a drink or two as well.
Title image credit: Visit Scotland
The most southerly of Scotland's whisky distilleries, Bladnoch was first founded in 1817. Like many distilleries, it has had a somewhat chequered history: It fell silent in 1938 and re-opened in the 1950s, only to be mothballed again in 1993. It opened again in 2000 before briefly going bankrupt in 2014. These days, however, Bladnoch's team is active again, happily producing malt whisky and laying down as many casks as possible to build stock for the future.
Bladnoch has an excellent visitor centre and shop, and operates a couple of different tours. We can also arrange bespoke tours and tastings for our clients.
The original Annandale Distillery was opened in 1836 and closed in 1924. In 2007, the remains were bought by Prof David Thomson and Teresa Church, and in 2014 they distilled their first whisky.
The first bottlings from the new distillery were in 2017, and since then they've been selling out in record time and commanding high prices at auction.
The distillery visitor centre and shop opened in 2014, and the standard tours on offer are fun and informative. We can also arrange bespoke tours for our clients.
Crafty is a gin distillery with a sense of humour, but it's deadly serious about quality and provenance.
One of very few gin producers that make their own base spirit, they use local grain which - we think - makes a real difference to the end product.
They've also started making whisky - no bottlings have been released yet, but under the name Billy & Co, they're working to take some of the magic of their craft gin and apply it to a single malt.
We love the Galloway Gin Escape tour - a group of up to four people can go on a private expedition to forage for botanicals, then learn some new gin cocktails before finishing up with a tour of the distillery.
However, if you're in a rush, the regular distillery tour and tasting is also really good.
Founded by Andrew Emmerson on the Solway Coast of Dumfries & Galloway, Solway Spirits makes a variety of treats: The range includes a selection of gins (even one made to taste like rhubarb crumble!), a properly spicy vodka and even a couple of spiced rums.
The Solway passion and commitment is second to none. A true micro-distillery producing only fifty bottles per batch, and everything is bottled and labelled by hand.
Sadly they don't offer any tours at present, but their products are available in shops and bars throughout Dumfries and Galloway, so keep your eyes peeled!
The home of Oro Gin, Dalton has a truly impressive set-up with beautiful copper pot stills. They make gin, rum and vodka and can even produce a bespoke gin to your unique specification!
Not only is there a shop, there's also a great cafe and a bar on-site. Lunches are served Thursday-Saturday.
They also offer tours, tastings and cocktail masterclasses - pre-booking is, however, essential.