A company selling water from Loch Ness is hoping to advance its ambitious growth plans by rearing its head in China.
Kenny Stewart and Craig Evans, who launched 126 Water for Whisky in April, fly to Shanghai this week to take part in the China International Import Expo (CIIE),
The company is the Highlands’ only representative on a delegation organised by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. It is part of the international trade partnership with the Scottish Government.
Global trade event
It is a huge opportunity for the venture, being one of the 3,400 exhibitors showcasing to over 394,000 visitors at the global economic and trade event.
In preparation it has printed business cards and information packs in Mandarin.
The Dingwall-based firm has already lined up meetings with potential customers at the expo. The event runs from Nov 5-10 and is being held for the first time in three years.
It hopes the showcase will accelerate plans to expand its base and grow from a current workforce of five to 20-30 in two years.
Mr Stewart said: “We are really pleased to be part of this event. And we’re really proud to be flying the flag for the north of Scotland.
“We have a fledgling product which is making good headway in the UK with high-end retailers, hotels, restaurants and whisky outlets.
“Our strategy was always to target the international market and we see this as a huge opportunity.
“The Chinese market is massive for whisky. To pair it with a water product from Scotland, they are going to love that.”
Expansion plans in place
The product is already available in the Netherlands, France, Spain and four US states.
A visit to the US is planned next year and talks have been taking place with potential customers in India.
An expansion plan is in place for the Dingwall base in anticipation of future growth.
Mr Stewart added: “We have two expansion plans to extend our current footprint quite easily and also to go beyond that in the Dingwall area. That will bring jobs to the area as we get bigger.
“If China goes really well we will have to ramp up production fairly quickly.”
The company takes its name from the depth of Loch Ness – 126 fathoms. It extracts water in small batches at a secret location from the iconic source.
It is then filtered using the same standard as the whisky industry and bottled.