Monday, 30 November 2015


I went to the Co-op today to get mixed spice and brandy for my first ever Christmas cake and I came back with neither.  I didn’t know which brandies were multi-national and I couldn’t find the spice.

I thought I could do some digging to see if there was any way round this.  There must be some independent booze suppliers that I can buy my Christmas drinks from!

I found DemiJohn1 on Victoria St!  It has 4 shops over the UK, Edinburgh, Glagsow, York and Oxford therefore not a multinational.  In their website they go into great detail about their ethical sourcing.

Villeneuve Wines2 on Broughton Street only has one other shop in Peebles. They also offer services to the hospitality sector and have an online shop. They have over 2000 wines on offer and 150 malt whiskies, though some of these will be multinationals, for example Jacob’s Creek3 is owned by Premium Wine Brands which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pernod Ricard.

The Fine Wine Company4 exists only in Portobello and Musselburgh.  They specialise in wines from smaller vineyards and have a great online service too. Obviously they are not a multinational and a lot of their wines won’t be either.

Diagio5 of course is a multinational and is one of the world’s largest producers of spirits and a large producer of beer and lagers.  It owns Smirnoff, Baileys, Jonnie Walker and owns 34% of Moet Hennessy, which itself owns Moet et Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Hennessy.

I would be okay to drink Belhaven Beers6, but I don’t like beer.  I have been on their brewery tour in Dunbar, it was quite interesting and some of their fruit stouts were quite nice.  Belhaven is owned by Greene King7&8 who is called Greedy King in real ale circles for their aggressive acquisition policy. Although they are not a multinational I think I will avoid them anyway.

I cannot drink Glenmorangie9, which is distilled in Tain, near where I was brought up, as it is owned by a partnership of Louis Vuitton and Hennessy both multinationals.  Nor Macallan10, which is my favourite malt whisky, either as it is owned by the Edrington Group11 who own The Macallan, Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, Highland Park whiskies, Snow Leopard vodka and Brugal rum. They are an independent international company, so by my definition a multinational.

Traquair House Ale pours a dark chestnut color that is virtually ...Allegedly Brewdog Beers12 are good; I say allegedly as I have never tasted any of them, unfortunately it is such a big company now that it has bars all over Europe although it appears that all Brewdog beer is brewed in Ellon, outside Aberdeen.  I think that makes it a multinational.

My brother drinks Jacobite Ale from Traquair Brewery13.  This is a tiny brewery in one wing of Traquair House, Innerleithen in the Scottish borders.  It was started in the 60’s by the 20th Lord using the original 19th Century brewing equipment that was used to brew for the house and estate.  It is run by the 21st Lady of Traquair, Catherine Maxwell Stuart and is definitely not a multinational. 

The Inveralmond Brewery14 in Perth also seems to be a smaller brewery.  At the moment it is doing a beer called Santa’s Swallie which is available in the Co-op and online amongst other places.

Gin is experiencing a comeback and we have our own Edinburgh Gin Distillery15 in Rutland Place. They do all sorts of flavoured gin, which I have tasted and some of it is very nice indeed. The company is owned by the Spencerfield Spirit Company16 which is a small producer of Whisky and Gin in Fife.  I would be able to drink their products if I wished too and I may get some of their whisky in for my visitors at Christmas.

I didn’t know about Hendricks Gin but as it is owned by Whisky giant Wm Grant17 and sons I won’t be drinking it anyway.  In addition to this gin, the company owns Glenfiddich, Grants, the Balvenie, Sailor Jerry (rum), Tullamore D.E.W. (Irish whiskey), Drambuie and O.V.D Rum.

I am actually more of a port and sherry drinker and am not averse to a wee cider occasionally and I notice that some independent ciders have become available but if I cover all these here the post is going to be huge so I am going to split it into two.