Advisers are just the tonic for gin women

The Lussa Gin team are, left to right, Georgina Kitching, Alicia MacInnes and Claire Fletcher.

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Three women who set up their own gin business based on the Isle of Jura are now celebrating an award win after less than three years of operation.

Claire Fletcher, Alicia MacInnes and Georgina Kitching founded Lussa Gin in 2016 producing the drink from 15 locally grown and gathered botanicals.

Following unprecedented demand in their first year of business, Lussa Gin renovated and moved into an old stable building to upgrade their still and increase production. They now produce up to 7,000 bottles of Lussa Gin each year, which are sold online or at one of the 50 retailers across Scotland who stock the unique product.

The trio’s hard work and investment has paid off, as Lussa Gin was recently awarded the FSB Small Business Start Up of the Year Award 2019.

Celebrating the award win, co-founder Alicia said: ‘We wanted to convey our thanks to Business Gateway, who have offered us invaluable support while navigating our way through a competitive gin marketplace.

‘Our Business Gateway adviser was the first person outside the three of us that we turned to for help and support.

‘From helping us at the very beginning with the advice to focus, to grant funding processes, fully-funded workshops, help with cash flow work and business plan writing, we really appreciate Business Gateway’s contribution to the success of our business.’

Barbara Halliday, business adviser for Business Gateway Argyll and Bute added: ‘Since we first spoke to Claire, Alicia and Georgina in 2016, they have accessed our one-to-one advice, EU-funded grant support from our Local Growth Accelerator Programme, DigitalBoost support (such as website development, search engine optimisation and social media marketing) and recently moved through the Business Gateway growth pipeline to work with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

‘Lussa Gin has also been exported to Sweden and Germany and works with six different distributors.’

Claire said: ‘As we live in a remote part of Scotland, the challenge to get Lussa Gin recognised in the market was initially problematic. However, with Business Gateway’s support, we attended training events, trade fairs across the country and accessed specialist advice on using social media.

‘As the presence of Lussa Gin grew in the industry and online, we earned our own identity in the market as the Isle of Jura’s only gin distillery.

‘We wanted to use the place we love as the foundation for our business and to find something that will enable us to stay here. We have had great community support and we love venturing out in our rowing boat or climbing trees to collect ingredients for our product.’

To find out more about how Business Gateway can help you set up and develop your own business, call 01546 808363 or visit www.bgateway.com/argyll-and-bute.