David Smith is the first to admit that launching his rum brand Cabezon Beverage during the pandemic wasn’t ideal.
But it’s paid dividends for the 36-year-old with his flagship product, Ron Cabezon, now stocked in 30 bars from Fraserburgh to St Ives, 17 miles from Lands End.
The rum is also available from a number of bars in Barcelona and in shops across the UK.
Mr Smith worked on perfecting his rum recipe and branding before launching the firm last October.
He said: “Launching during a pandemic wasn’t ideal, but we’re more than pleased with how we’ve been able to keep going.”
His inspiration to get involved in rum producing came while living in Barcelona, Spain, from 2010 to 2015.
Mr Smith has been joined on the journey by his friend, Fraser Graham, from Kintore, who is company marketing director.
Together the pair hope to turn their attention to breaking the drinks markets globally – despite the past year being tough for businesses in the hospitality sector.
Mr Smith said: “I won’t pretend the first year in business has been easy, but we are really proud of how far we have come.
“We are now stocked in bars and shops across the UK and Spain with a customer base that is growing month on month.
“The rum scene in Scotland is growing everyday and we are delighted to be one of the companies leading the charge.
“Our aim is to grow. We would love to build a sustainable business that allows us to not only satisfy demand in Scotland but look to internationalise across the Americas, Europe and Asia.”
Cabezon Beverage works with Aboyne-based distiller Lost Loch Spirits to create Ron Cabezon, using local botanicals and a final distillation.
Mairi Gougeon, rural affairs minister, recently visited Cabezon Beverage to hear about the company’s continued growth.
The visit included a tour of the distillery as well as a guide on production, an introduction to botanicals, new products coming to market and future growth plans.
Ms Gougeon said: “I was delighted to visit Cabezon Beverage to learn about their business, future growth plans and was impressed with their achievements despite the challenges presented over the past year.
“There is growing demand for Scottish rum and Cabezon Beverage are an innovative local business in the Scottish spirits sector.”
Mr Graham added: “It was fantastic to have Ms Gougeon visit us at the distillery.
“We are working hard ourselves, but it is comforting to know that the Scottish Government has faith in what we are doing and is providing support to ourselves and businesses all over the country as we come out the end of a very difficult 18 months.
“The rum scene in Scotland is evolving and becoming more accessible.”
Mr Smith has shown his support for the North East Now campaign, which has made it easy for people to support local firms from a wide range of industries during the pandemic.
He said: “I think it looks great. There is so much creativity in the area with amazing bars, restaurants and produce. It is great to shine a light on it.
“The North East Now platform is great for us to share some good news about our continued growth.”
For further information on Cabezon, visit www.cabezonbeverage.com
To find out more about North-East Now, visit www.northeastnow.scot
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