Fledgling West Highland firm Whitetail Spirits has started up Mull’s first distillery for 220 years.
The historic move comes as the company, whose award-winning gin was previously made for it in London, steps up production with support from Business Gateway Argyll and Bute.
Whitetail plans to launch a range of five liqueurs this summer, all produced in its new micro-distillery at the Steadings, next to Tiroran House Hotel.
Founder Jamie Munro, 29, teamed up with hotel-owning family members Katie and Laurence Mackay to get the business up and running, helped by access funding from Business Gateway’s Local Growth Accelerator Programme.
The external support allowed the firm to buy essential equipment and move its gin production to Scotland.
A new still will be used to produce smaller bottles and a diversified flavour range, giving Whitetail capacity to produce 250 bottles a day.
Mr Munro said: “We are excited to establish Mull’s first on-island distillery in over 200 years and move our production from London back to our family home.”
Named after Europe’s largest bird of prey, the micro-distillery is close to a white-tailed eagle’s nest in Tiroran Forest.
Its gin is sold online and in branches of Selfridges in London, Birmingham and Manchester, as well as 25 Co-op stores and 300 retail outlets around the UK.
Locally, the spirit –winner of a silver medal at the Wold Gin Awards 2019 –is on sale at around 30 shops, bars and hotels on Mull.
Business Gateway adviser Angela Vernel said, “Whitetail’s expansion is a great indicator of the strength of demand for Scottish gin, both in the UK and worldwide.
“Jamie had already tapped successfully into this market but by recognising Business Gateway could help him with funding options for his growth business, he has been able to expand production.
“We look forward to continuing to work with him as the business grows.”
The Argyll and Bute Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator Programme, worth a total of £855,239, is funded by the local authority and European Regional Development Fund.
It is primarily aimed at firms looking to grow their annual turnover by £50,000 or more within the next three years, and which are also micro, small or medium-sized – those with fewer than 250 employees and less than about £544 million turnover, or a balance sheet total of £38m.