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North-east rum brand Cabezon Beverage gaining ground after successful first year

From left, Fraser Graham and David Smith.

The founders of north-east rum brand Cabezon Beverage are celebrating a successful first year in business as their spirits continue to gain national recognition.

Cabezon Beverage has become the toast of the town these past two years.

Since launching in 2020, it has appeared on Alan Titchmarsh’s Love Your Weekend and the business has produced over 2,500 bottles of their flagship spirit, as well as going on to release a second.

And 2022 is already looking just as prosperous for founders Fraser Graham and David Smith.

Fraser and David , both 36, launched the Cabezon Beverage brand in October 2020 “as an output of creativity.”

A bottle of Ron Cabezon.

Taking a leap of faith during the pandemic, they wanted to create and release a spirit that not only tasted great but stood out in the marketplace.

This is how the pair’s flagship 41% ABV five-year-aged Caribbean rum, Ron Cabezon, came to be a reality.

Ron Cabezon

Produced at Lost Loch Distillery in Aboyne, Ron Cabezon is made using 100% natural botanical ingredients including rum, honey, cubeb, vanilla, kola nut and Royal Deeside spring water. The rum-making process takes a total of 13 weeks.

It is available for £34.95 in 70cl bottles, however Fraser and David are looking to release 5cl bottles in the near future.

The name Cabezon means pig-headed – wilfully uncompromising.

David Smith.

“Maybe not for all, but for us, it was the perfect time to launch something fun,” Fraser, from Kintore, said.

“Rum is something we have both enjoyed for many years. It is incredibly versatile.”

Fraser worked in hospitality for 10 years in a variety of city locations – Drummonds, The Chester Hotel and Siberia Bar & Hotel, which is where he and David crossed paths.

David, who currently lives in Edinburgh but was born and bred in Aberdeen, said: “Caribbean rums are the best in the world, so we wanted to take that base and have a little nod to Scotland in there.”

Much to celebrate

Ron Cabezon was a hit from the outset with the first batch, consisting of 400 bottles, selling out “almost instantly” and the north-east rum featuring on TV.

Over 2,500 bottles have been sold to date with more batches set to be produced to keep up with demand.

The business partners decided to release a second product last month: Ron Cabezon – The Accord, available for £39.95.

It is a 40% ABV and consists of the brand’s flagship botanical rum aged in Speyside whisky casks.

However, Fraser says one of their most notable successes would be their “spread of on-trade customers”.

Today, the rums can be spotted in hospitality businesses across the country, such as:

  • Aberdeen Whisky Shop
  • Inverurie Whisky Shop
  • JK Fine Foods
  • Marshall’s Farm Shop
  • The Chester Hotel
  • Mac’s Pizzeria
  • The Square
  • Meldrum House Hotel

They can also be found in various venues in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Barcelona, with more to come.

Fraser and David have had inquiries from people based in Asia and America.

A third product is coming

“Launching a second product felt like a big milestone as we now have a family of products, with a third due to be ready for spring/summer,” Fraser said.

“Due to the challenges of the last year, the growth we have had has been pretty remote.

“We have attended no events in person and everything has been down to local support and social media, but we are really looking forward to this year where we can get out in person at events.”

Cabezon Beverage is currently working with Business Gateway and Scotland Food and Drink, among others, to push the next stage of its growth.

Bottles of Ron Cabezon, the brand’s flagship rum.

David added: “We are in conversation with two other national distributors as well as one of the major supermarkets, so all we can ask of people is when they have a chance to treat themselves, give us a shot.

“This started off as a fun hobby but the success has meant that we have had to take it a lot more seriously.”

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