Rum distillery’s spirits lifted with help of Business Gateway

Deer Island only works with Scottish distilled rum and the business promotes the Scottish origins of the drink and how this has influenced its flavour profile, creating an exciting product that has the Isle of Jura at its heart.

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Business Gateway Argyll and Bute has helped a rum distillery keep up with demand, through vital funding for essential equipment which enabled a move to in-house production and increased output.

Based on the Isle of Jura, Deer Island Distillers craft exceptional small-batch Scottish spiced rum. Founded by partners Michael Walton and Charlotte Gillet, the team have created a signature spiced rum with a unique flavour profile that benefits from its location, as the soft Jura water is used throughout the production process.

Rather than importing the spirit from the Caribbean, Deer Island only works with Scottish distilled rum and the business promotes the Scottish origins of the drink and how this has influenced its flavour profile.

The business also advocates sustainability by using by-products from the production process. These include spiced rum soaps, candles, and baked goods, such as rum-soaked raisins which are available to both local businesses and customers.
After launching the business, Michael and Charlotte soon experienced significant demand for their product, which required a new approach to their operations and production.

Through Business Gateway, Michael and Charlotte received a grant from the Local Growth Accelerator Programme, which is funded by Argyll and Bute Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

This money enabled the purchase of specialist equipment which allowed the couple to move the production in-house. This has resulted in increased output and significant savings for the business, as they are no longer reliant on third-party production.

Co-founder Michael, of Deer Island Distillers, said: ‘Growing up in Jura has given me an affinity for the land, community and, of course, the deer, and I wanted our distillery to reflect this special place. Sustainability and working in an environmentally conscious way were also important values to us, so we integrated this into our business operations, which gave us additional products to sell.

We welcomed the incredible response from customers but knew we needed to adapt to demand. Business Gateway was vital throughout this process and signposted us to funding that allowed us to increase our production on the Isle of Jura, which is vital as the location is at the heart of this product.’

Michael and Charlotte have benefited from a range of Business Gateway’s start-up services, including one-to-one guidance from their dedicated adviser, advice on marketing and DigitalBoost support. The team accessed help and advice about using social media and later put some of their grant funding towards launching a new e-commerce platform that will support business growth.

Donald Melville, business adviser for Business Gateway, said: ‘Michael and Charlotte created an exciting product that has the Isle of Jura at its heart. Our funding has helped them adapt to the high levels of customer demand and bring production in-house.
‘Not only does this ensure that Deer Island Distillers remains firmly located in the region, it will also support future business growth.’

  •  To find out more about Business Gateway visit bgateway.com