Two food and drink industry entrepreneurs have launched a state-of-the-art flexible bottling facility which will help the burgeoning craft and artisan Scottish spirits sector.
By harnessing the newest technologies in bottling and liquid management Contract Bottlers Glasgow Ltd (CBG), will not only provide the level of track and trace required to allow craft and artisan distilleries to export and sell into major UK retailers, but also offer the flexibility to produce runs as small as 1000 litres whilst accommodating bespoke bottle designs and sizes from 5cl up to 75cl.
CBG will also bottle whisky casks for clients and has received its excise warehouse registration certificate, trade facility warehouse approval and compounder’s licence. This enables the company to handle bulk underbond to reduce in strength for bottling and compound spirits for liqueurs, both of which support the supply chain, keeping vehicle movements to a minimum and offering flexibility to CBG customers.
Currently, UK gin sales are worth £2billion with the export market at only £500 million offering Scottish Craft Distillers a massive opportunity but they are often blocked by as regulatory requirements for track and trace that are only available on production lines that are designed for large scale runs and these lines are often tied to, or owned, by large distillers.
As an independent company, CBG will make this level of sophistication in production accessible to small distillers on a regular and reliable basis for the first time, which CBG believe has the potential to double the export market.
Founders Ron Young and Adrian Louden have made a six-figure investment in the business and have attracted a Scottish Enterprise Regional Selective Assistance Grant of £180k, dependant on the fulfilment of eligibility criteria including job creation and growing the sector as a whole. Lombard Asset Finance has also extended credit of £200k. The overall investment totals more than £650k.
Ron Young said: “We have invested in the latest bottling, labelling and alcohol measurement technologies to ensure accuracy and traceability, which will fulfil all legislative requirements, while allowing our clients to retain the integrity of their brands.
“We see ourselves as enablers for the craft and artisan spirits sector, addressing the complex operational factors inherent in producing and bottling spirits, allowing the distillers to concentrate on their passion – the unique characters of their brands.”
Ron Young’s background is in drinks production, bottling and sales, while co-founder Adrian Louden has national and international experience in developing sales and distribution networks in the food industry having led the scaling of his family business both in the UK and international markets.
“We are truly excited and passionate about the opportunity to change the industry and maximise its potential”, says Louden. “Ron has practical problem-solving skills in design, labelling, sealing and bottling, combined with product development and UK sales experience, while my previous experience, includes growing our family business into one of the largest Ethnic Food multi-site distribution businesses in the UK. This role allowed me to grow my knowledge and skills in working with international markets.
“We see a role for ourselves in moving the whole industry forward by raising productions standards, allowing it to maximise its potential”.