About us

SAOS was established in 1905 to strengthen the profitability and effectiveness of Scotland’s farming and rural businesses through co-operation.

What we do

We are Scotland’s experts on farmer co-ops and food industry collaboration. We provide a range of specialist information, development and consultancy services.


We are a development organisation owned by our members. We provide a range of specialist services that our members have requested, that are not available elsewhere. Discover how we can help you.

Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA)

SAOS played a pivotal role in the formation of SCDA.

A membership organisation promoting the craft of Scottish distilling. Industry estimates report there are over 100 licensed distilleries in Scotland.

Many of these are craft distilleries and economic value of the craft sector was predicted to exceed by c£30m by 2021, with the potential to reach £50m in five years, once whisky producers start the sale of the matured product. It is likely this will be far exceeded and into treble figures by the end of 2020.

What are we doing?

SCDA was set up to encourage the development and growth of the emergent craft spirits sector in Scotland. SAOS, along with partner organisations and agencies, undertook a survey of new and potential craft distillers in Scotland to establish the best organisational model, governance and objectives for the new SCDA.


To help accelerate the growth of the emerging sector, six key objectives were established:

  • Promotion - of the Scottish craft spirits sector
  • Representation - to consumers, trade, and public sector
  • Innovation - in product, practices and processes
  • Market Development - into new UK markets and export
  • Accreditation - establishing provenance and quality
  • Common Interest - working on issues common to all

What impact?

SAOS applied a dedicated member of staff to work with and support the formation of SCDA. SCDA has had a significant impact on the development of the craft spirits sector in Scotland. Initially many of the distillers did not know each other and many were new to the sector.