Meet the man who has the world’s tiniest gin distillery in his cupboard

If you’ve ever had the dream of running your own distillery after receiving a gin-making set for Christmas, it seems you’re not alone. For one entrepreneur, that very vision came true.

Colin McLean, from Glasgow, turns the cupboard of his tenement flat into the home of his very own gin brand, McLean’s Gin.

It may not exactly be under the stairs but McLean is most definitely weaving his magic on the gin world.

Image: McLean / Facebook

Considered quite possibly the smallest distillery in the world, Colin and his partner Jess produce around 500 bottles of gin in their 1.5 metre square cupboard off the living room in a one bedroom flat.

Everything from sticking labels on the bottles to making the wax seals on the bottles is done by hand. The tiny tenement cupboard is packed full of exotic herbs which creates the brand’s experimental gin flavours.

Signature and Cherry Bakewell Gins from McLean’s Gin. Image: Facebook

From spiced gin to cherry bakewell gin, McLean’s Gin is being stocked in pubs, bars and retailers across Scotland. Not a bad achievement considering the brand’s simple roots.

It was a Christmas present from a relative which launched Colin’s unlikely career in gin-making.

After receiving a gin-making kit, he used the gift to make a Valentine’s present for his fiancée. After getting the seal of approval, the pair then put the Christmas present to even greater use. Truly the gift that keeps on giving, the set then made Christmas presents for friends and family.

The original homemade bottles of gin made for Colin’s friends and family at Christmas.  Image: Instagram

An enthusiastic response to the bottles then led Colin to consider making gin for the masses and McLean Gin was born.

The brand has its very own signature gin which was swiftly joined by Floral, Citrus, Spiced and Cherry Bakewell.

The good news for fans of flavoured gin is that the pair intend to keep creating new and exciting flavours to add to their line-up.

It’s most definitely an exciting time for gin. Now considered the UK’s trendiest tipple as well as the nation’s favourite drink, we’ve seen a massive increase in the rise of small craft gin makers.  Flavoured gin, in particular, is on the rise.

Producers have become more creative with flavours, which can only mean one thing gin fans. We’re going to see even more interesting botanicals on the cards.

For McLean Gin there’s the promise of Tiramisu flavour but the pair apparently also have a lot of other ideas up their sleeves…

One thing’s for sure, we’ll never again say that you can’t use that Christmas present…


Ashleigh Gibbs