The last couple of years has seen an unprecedented number of new, craft distilleries popping up around the country, pushing the number of gins produced in Scotland higher on an almost weekly basis.
Many of these distilleries are small, local outfits who have limited facilities in terms of production and bottling, meaning, until now, they have been limited in their routes to market and unable to export their products internationally.
Now, however, two seasoned professionals from the food and drink industry are set to revolutionise the burgeoning craft and artisan spirits sector by launching a state-of-the-art flexible bottling facility which will overcome the barriers that have, until now, prevented small distillers selling their product internationally and restricted their access to the off-trade domestic market.
By harnessing the newest technologies in bottling and liquid management Contract Bottlers Glasgow Ltd (CBG), will not only provide the level of track and trace required to allow craft and artisan distilleries to export and sell into major UK retailers, but also offer the flexibility to produce runs as small as 1000 litres whilst accommodating bespoke bottle designs and sizes from 5cl up to 75cl.
CBG has received its excise warehouse registration certificate, trade facility warehouse approval and compounder’s licence. This means that the company is able to handle bulk underbond to be reduced in strength for bottling and compound spirits for liqueurs, both of which support the supply chain, keeping vehicle movements to a minimum and offering flexibility to their customers.
Currently, UK gin sales are worth £2billion – with the export market at only £500 million. This shows there is an obvious big opportunity for craft distillers, but they are often blocked by regulatory requirements for track and trace that their own production lines cannot accommodate.
As an independent company, CBG will make this level of sophistication in production accessible to small distillers on a regular and reliable basis for the first time, which CBG believe has the potential to double the export market.
Founders Ron Young and Adrian Louden have made a six- figure investment in addition to attracting grants and additional funding. The overall investment in the new line totals more than £650k.
Ron Young said: “We have invested in the latest bottling, labelling and alcohol measurement technologies to ensure accuracy and traceability, which will fulfil all legislative requirements, while allowing our clients to retain the integrity of their brands.
“We see ourselves as enablers for the craft and artisan spirits sector, addressing the complex operational factors inherent in producing and bottling spirits, allowing the distillers to concentrate on their passion – the unique characters of their brands.”
CBG is also offering the expertise and experience of its founders, which they believe will give customers considerable added value.
Ron Young’s background is in drinks production, bottling and sales, while co-founder Adrian Louden has national and international experience in developing sales and distribution networks in the food industry having led the scaling of his family business both in the UK and international markets.
“We are truly excited and passionate about the opportunity to change the industry and maximise its potential”, says Louden. “Ron has practical problem-solving skills in design, labelling, sealing and bottling, combined with product development and UK sales experience, while my previous experience, includes growing our family business into one of the largest Ethnic Food multi-site distribution businesses in the UK. This role allowed me to grow my knowledge and skills in working with international markets.”
“We see a role for ourselves in moving the whole industry forward by raising productions standards, allowing it to maximise its potential”.