New rum distillery in Livingston to start production

The first rum distillery in ­central Scotland '“ Matugga Distillers '“ is preparing to start production at its new facility in Livingston.

Jacine and Paul Rutasikwa are the founders of Matugga Rum.
Jacine and Paul Rutasikwa are the founders of Matugga Rum.

The £100,000 distillery is equipped with two 200 litre copper pot stills, capable of producing 50,000 litres of artisanal rum in its first year; the equivalent of two million single rum serves.

Over the next year, the firm is forecasting a 400 per cent increase in turnover and is hoping to create five new full time roles.

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Founded by husband and wife Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, Matugga Distillers describes the Matugga Rum ­series as ‘golden and spiced rums crafted with African soul’.

Originally small batch ­distilled in England before moving production to Scotland, the rums draw inspiration from the couple’s Ugandan and Jamaican family heritage. Matugga has a uniquely East African flavour profile; achieved using sugar cane molasses from the region and a masala chai blend of black tea, ginger, cloves, ­vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon.

The Rutasikwas began ­exploring central Scotland when Paul – a chartered civil engineer by trade – started a masters degree in brewing and distilling at Heriot-Watt University.

The family – which includes their two young daughters – ­relocated from London to Livingston in July 2017.

During this time, the firm has already celebrated export success following a listing with French distributor Dugas.

Paul said: “Scotland has hundreds of years of distilling expertise and history. This, combined with my African ­heritage, is what will inspire us to create new and exciting rums. We can think of no better place to be launching our new distillery and beginning such an exciting journey.

“The ethos of Matugga Distillers is underpinned by the Swahili saying ‘pole pole’ (pronounced poleh poleh), which means ‘slowly slowly’. We want people to slow down, sip, savour and share our rums with friends and family.”

Jacine said: “Building on the success we’ve had in Europe, the next year will see us focus on making friends and contacts in the on-trade and off-trade; while continuing to bring something different to the UK rum scene as a whole.

“The signature smokey aspect of our rums isn’t dissimilar to lightly peated whiskies.”