In the first 'Discover Lanark Business Showcase' of 2021, we are speaking to Ulrich of 'Lanark Distillery' to find out more about their gin and the success they have enjoyed since launching in December last year.
What brought your business to Lanark?
My wife and I moved to Lanark 14 years ago. We have lived all over the world in many different places but we just love living in Lanark and always thought it would be fantastic if Lanark had a Distillery or Brewery. I've been lucky to enough to combine my two passions - Lanark and gin!
What do you sell?
We are a small batch Distillery producing small volumes of different flavoured Gins. At the moment we produce an 'Original' (citrusy with hint of spice), a raspberry and a Grapefruit flavoured Gin.
What are your best sellers?
We had a "soft" launch of our products via the Duke's Deli in December and were overwhelmed with the response. Each flavour of gin proved to be equally popular. We found that people would initially buy a large Original bottle and the taster bottles of the Raspberry and Grapefruit but would invariably return for larger bottles of these as well. The taster bottles are an excellent way to sample our different flavours and make for great gifts.
What makes your business unique?
This question is not easy to answer and we are well aware that we are one of many craft distilleries producing Gin in a small copper pot still. But the selection of Gin we produce (Grapefruit and Raspberry) is quite unique and you will not find this kind easily. In addition, we are the only craft distillery in Lanark and people from Lanark and surrounding areas can relate to our brand. Given the trend of buying locally produced products is a growing one we offer people the opportunity to purchase and contribute to a product not previously available with the Lanark name. We also offer a very personal and friendly service with local delivery provided by our master distiller - not many businesses give you the opportunity to meet the man himself!
Why should people visit your business?
As we are producing from a residential area our licence only allows to sell via our online shop. Once the COVID-19 situation allows us we will approach and ask local businesses, shops and restaurants to stock our Gin. We hope that in the near future we will be able to rent premises and run a distillery with a shop. By buying and supporting our product our customers can help us to realise this ambition, something which we are so grateful for.
What types of suppliers do you use?
We source our GNS (Grain neutral spirit) and botanicals from companies in Scotland and down south. Whenever possible we buy organic. A lot of thought (and tasting) goes into making sure we provide the best product possible for our customers.
Is there anything else interesting you would like to highlight?
As we have just started our first priority is to establish our brand. However, we are always thinking of new products and are already working on them. It is our hope to keep our gin portfolio exclusive with the focus on quality rather than quantity so we will probably add one more Gin and a product totally different to Gin. I would love to make a Blend Scotch Whisky.
How have customers reacted to your business?
Since our launch last December, we have been overwhelmed by the response we have received from our customers. I was at Duke's Deli weekly restocking which was more than I had ever dreamed. The feedback we have had has been phenomenal. People just love the fact that Lanark has now a Distillery, even if they can't visit us at the moment. We really appreciate all the nice and kind comments and also the suggestions for future products. We are so looking forward to being able to work more directly with new suppliers and a wider consumer group.
Tell us a bit about yourself...
My wife and I immigrated to Scotland about 26 years ago and I worked as a industrial chemist for 20 years. About 5 years ago I decided to change career, as I wanted to try something new and to challenge myself and I always loved visiting Gin and Whisky Distilleries. I went to Heriot-Watt University and got a MSc in Brewing and Distilling (I think I must have been the oldest student on the course). I then worked as brewer, Head brewer and distiller for several years and when I got the OK from my boss (sorry, wife) I decided to start the business and am now in the fortunate position of realising my dream of operating my own distillery.
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