A young distiller has launched a funding appeal to achieve a dream inspired by her great, great grandmother.
Ciara Bow founded Gledfield Distillery two years ago and aims to have the first bottles of botanical spirit ready by September 2024.
She is now hoping to raise £25,000 to buy equipment, including a 100 litre pot still for premises in Tain.
Reviving her predecessor’s spirit
Ciara is currently developing three botanical spirit products, inspired by her great, great grandmother.
Marjorie was born in 1884 and lived on a croft in Kilmachalmack, near Ardgay.
When one day she spotted the excisemen coming from Beauly on horse and cart, she hid her pot still under her petticoats. The image is now used in Gledfield’s logo.
Ciara, 25, intends to resurrect her rebellious relative’s botanical spirit, made using oats and other botanicals, in her products.
The young businesswoman won joint Young Ambassador of the Year at the recent Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards. She hopes eventually to move the distillery to Sutherland.
For every bottle of spirit she sells, £1 will be donated to support charities in the Kyle of Sutherland, identified as a fragile and disadvantaged area.
She said: “I’m really proud to live in the Kyle of Sutherland, it’s such a beautiful area.
“It’s where I grew up and it’s where Marjorie lived. It’s also where I started Gledfield Distillery.
“The community is at the heart of eveything I’m doing.”
Raising funds for women-led businesses
Her business is one of eight across Scotland taking part in a first of its kind crowdfunding project for women-led businesses.
The pilot is run by Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES), a community interest company working to close the gender gap in enterprise.
It was developed with support from Royal Bank of Scotland and The Productivity Institute.
Carolyn Currie is CEO of Women’s Enterprise Scotland. She said access to finance is an enduring challenge for women starting up and growing a business.
“Our new crowdfunding platform ensures women get gender-specific, wrap-around support to help them throughout the finance raising process.
“In effect, this is the women’s entrepreneurial community putting their arms around women start-ups at the beginning and early stages of their business journey. They’re giving them the crucial support they need at the crucial important finance raising stage.”