THE fourth annual Stirling Gin Festival has broken all previous records after a sell-out success saw over 1,000 gin-lovers descend on the iconic Stirling Highland Hotel last weekend.

Twenty-four of the most respected gin companies drawn from all across the UK and as far a-field as Spain and New Zealand were present as gin aficionados marched on historic Stirling in their masses, with one long range gin pilgrim travelling a mind-boggling 4,949 miles from Scottsdale, Arizona, to sample the delights of what is arguably now Scotland's foremost gin jamboree.

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With the local economy benefitting to the tune of an estimated £100,000 and over 1,200 bottles of gin sold spanning the three tasting sessions on Friday and Saturday, it really was a gin-tastic triumph.

SGF is organised and run by The Stirling Spirit Company, a sister business of Stirling Gin and co-owner June McCann admitted the weekend's success has taken her breath away.

June said: "This is the fourth year that we have organised the Stirling Gin Festival and it just keeps getting bigger and better.

"I think what really appeals to gin-lovers is that they know they are going to be introduced to exciting new craft gins as well as enjoying the opportunity to stock up on old favourites and all of this is done in a warm and friendly environment.

"Added to that every one of the 100 or so gins that were available over the weekend had an interesting story behind it from the sea kelp that is the chief botanical of Harris Gin which is collected by a diver off the island, to the exotic Buddha's Hand which is the key constituent of Porters Gin from Aberdeen. Clearly the public enjoyed meeting and engaging with our makers and learning all about the providence of their produce.

"So although we are delighted with the sales figures and the benefits that SGF has brought to the local business community, it was also just really satisfying to see how engaged people were and how much the patrons enjoyed sharing conversation with new acquaintances made over the mutual interest provided by our fantastic and varied gins."

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While a mouth-watering 106 bottles of the home city wild nettle infused Stirling Gin were sold, one of the major success stories was Lussa Gin from the beautiful windswept Isle of Jura, which has as its chief botanical lemon thyme.

And co-owner Claire was keen to hail The Stirling Gin Festival as Scotland's leading gin-carnivals.

Claire Fletcher said: "We have returned to Jura exhausted after our two day stint at the Stirling Gin Festival. By the second session we'd completely sold out all stock and by the third session we were selling gin on a promise to post it as soon as we got back to Jura!

"Really it was a fantastic event for us and it was great to meet so many gin lovers and tell the story of how we make our gin. It was also really nice to explore Stirling and we'd love to be back in 2018.

"There is no doubt that the Stirling Gin Festival is now firmly established as one of the premier events of this type in Scotland."

And the good news is plans are already afoot to do it all over again in 2018.