A rum distillery in Livingston that launched last month is launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise at least £30,000 to help accelerate production.
Matugga Distillers is run by husband-and-wife team Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, and has seen surging demand for their golden and spiced rums that draw on their Ugandan and Jamaican heritage.
The funding will support the business’ ambitious expansion plans, and will be split between investment in additional equipment to increase spirits production and taking the distillery’s growing portfolio of rums “crafted with African soul” to new markets.
The couple say they have been inundated with requests to invest since opening the distillery, with interest coming from as far away as Japan.
As part of the crowdfunding programme, rum-lovers will be able to own some of just 1,000 limited-edition bottles of the distillery’s new addition to the Matugga Rum range – Mavuno 2018. (In Swahili, mavuno means the ‘harvest’ – an important time in East Africa when the fertile farmlands return the investment of a year’s hard work.)
Additionally, 12 rum connoisseurs will be invited to lay down their own cask filled with 2018 new make rum, which will be aged for three years in the distiller’s bonded warehouse in Livingston.
Master distiller Paul Rutasikwa said: “We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the response to the opening of our new distillery; particularly the volume of requests to invest and enquiries about laying down rum casks.
“This is clearly testament to a growing global appreciation of artisanal spirits and a culture of consumers backing start-up drinks firms that have a unique story to tell.
“Participants in our crowdfunder will have the opportunity to own a part of Scotland’s rum history while helping to drive forward our exciting plans for the distillery and the creation of new jobs.”
The firm is over the next 12 months forecasting a 400 per cent increase in turnover, while its new distillery equipped with two 200-litre copper pot stills is capable of producing 50,000 litres of artisanal rum in its first year.