Two award-winning family businesses unite amidst spirits industry challenges

14/02/2024
RAER x McLean

IN A thoughtful move to protect against large competitors, changing legislation and to diversify their spirits offering, the family owned Jackton Distillery has invested in the similarly owned McLean’s Gin brand.  

Home of the multi-award winning RAER Scotch Whisky and Jackton Spirits brands, Jackton Distillery resides within the buildings of the Family’s farm in Jackton, a quaint village on the outskirts of East Kilbride. Born of their dad’s belief that life is short and precious, the siblings in charge of Jackton Distillery are set on continuing this mentality. They create high quality spirits to be shared amongst family and friends; encouraging everyone to Make Every Moment RAER. 

In 2023, the Jackton Distillery team were presented with an opportunity to invest in a unique gin, with a beautiful story… 

McLean’s Gin started life in the cupboard of Colin & Jessica’s 1-bedroom tenement flat in the Southside of Glasgow in 2017. Inspired by a Christmas gift; a “make-your-own-gin” kit received from his in-laws in 2015; McLean’s Gin began as a part-time passion project for “Head Ginologist” Colin McLean, gradually developing into a full-time endeavour when the couple upped sticks for larger premises on the outskirts of Strathaven, South Lanarkshire.  

In an increasingly saturated market, McLean’s found their niche with the creation of Something Blue; the world’s first “wedding gin”; created to celebrate the marriage of the Founders and featuring the unusual partnership of their two favourite botanicals. Although initially intended as a Limited-Edition release of just 150 bottles, with its unique flavour profile, authentic story, delicate presentation and “magical” colour change, Something Blue quickly went on to become McLean’s most popular product.  

Despite the success of Something Blue and the wider McLean’s Gin brand, Colin & Jessica; like many other Scottish producers; began to grow increasingly concerned by the threats facing their business and the wider drinks industry in 2022. With the forthcoming implementation of the fatally flawed Deposit Return Scheme and proposals to ban or seriously restrict alcohol marketing; coupled with a barrage of steep increases to Spirits Duty, business rates, utilities, and production costs; operating as a “one-man band” was becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible. Colin was seriously thinking about closing McLean’s Gin down when he happened to attend a tour of Jackton Distillery as part of a Lanarkshire Larder Discovery Tour. It is here that a relationship was born, and a partnership was ignited.   

Jackton Distillery has re-released McLean’s Gin’s “Something Blue” this Valentine’s Day, in celebration of love and partnership. Together, they invite you to indulge in the uniqueness of this product, symbolising the enduring bond between Scottish families, innovation, and the joy of raising a glass to life’s precious moments.  Learn more about Something Blue and Jackton Distillery at www.raer.co.uk

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