Isle of Cumbrae distillery’s start-up spirit

Business Gateway’s start-up service has been crucial for Isle of Cumbrae distillery, as it brings its product to market.

14th March 2022

A distillery on a mission to lift the spirit of the West Coast accessed a suite of start-up support services from Business Gateway, as well as DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital upskilling programme delivered by Business Gateway.

Led by a five-strong female team; Bronwyn Jenkin-Deas, Jenine Ward, Juli Dempsey, Phillipa Dalton and Lynda Gill met at a pub in 2019. Bonded by a love of gin and a passion for the island community, they opened Millport’s first gin distillery in 2020, with plans to create additional jobs for the island and increase the flow of tourism year-round.

Motivated by a love of Millport and a mutual desire to inspire women in business, the team launched their signature gin ‘Nostalgin’ in September 2020 with support from a neighbouring distillery, Isle of Bute Gin. Handcrafted and distilled with local botanicals including brambles, milk thistle and heather, the first release is a celebration of the emotional connection Millport holds to many who spent summers on the island.

Business Gateway supported the owners from a holistic, business perspective and provided start-up advice on company regulations, funding, premises and HR issues and signposted them to various DigitalBoost online workshops. This support guided the team through the initial stages of planning and development, providing advice on how to take the product to market.

Equipped with passion and an initial concept, but little experience of the industry and legal implications of opening a distillery, Business Gateway supported the team with practical experience and resources to form a business plan that would bring Nostalgin to the public.

Distinctively positioned as being one of the few all-female-owned distilleries in Scotland, Isle of Cumbrae is also a global team, with owners from the UK, Canada, and the USA.

With 2 more gins added to the mix in 2021 and a fourth in the pipeline, the next phase of this ambitious business involves strengthening the tourism offering on the island by working with local and regional businesses and the cruise ship industry to offer a variety of gin related tours and experiences that will encourage visitors to stay longer with the hopes of boosting the economy.

Bronwyn said: "Business Gateway has engaged with us from the very beginning of our business journey and the support offered has been varied and invaluable, from critiquing our business plan and making introductions, to providing financial support through grant schemes. Contacting Business Gateway should be the first step in anyone’s journey in embarking on your first business idea.”

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