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Highland mums celebrate success of award-winning craft gin business

27/06/2024

The duo has scaled up the size of their latest gin batch five times to keep up with customer demand 

Two local mums who launched their own craft gin just eight months ago are scaling up productions to keep up with customer demand. The pair accessed support from Business Gateway, Scotland’s national business advisory service, to get their business up and running.

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Catriona and Cara first launched Bealach Gin in October 2023. The pair met at a local mother and toddler group and soon became firm friends, realising that they not only had a shared love of being mums, but were both gin enthusiasts.

Inspired by the rugged landscape of their surroundings, Catriona and Cara wanted to make a gin that reflects their home. The result was Bealach Highland Gin – a smooth spirit that boasts a distinctive and flavourful taste thanks to the use of sustainably foraged local botanicals, such as brambles, bog myrtle and pines.

Bealach translates to ‘mountain pass’ from Scots Gaelic, which is a nod to the banks of Loch Lochy, where Catriona and Cara live.

Catriona, a geography teacher and Cara, who has a background working in distilleries, first approached Business Gateway in 2023for help in bringing their idea for their own craft gin to life.

Through Business Gateway Highland, Catriona and Cara attended a one-to-one meeting with a dedicated business adviser on how to access funding.

Catriona and Cara benefitted from a Highland Council start-up grant thanks to the support from Business Gateway Highland. This financial boost has allowed the pair to innovate, increase productivity, and stimulate economic growth in their communities.  

Bealach Highland Gin, which is now on its fifth batch, is now stocked in seven different businesses within a 16-mile radius of Catriona and Cara’s base. The pair has successfully applied for Alcohol Wholesalers Registration Scheme through HMRC, and now have plans to sell to local retailers and beyond in the future.

The gin was recently awarded silver from the International Wine & Spirit Competition, with the judges describing the spirit as having “a nice depth of flavour, balanced heat, and great complexity”.

Catriona Murch, Co-founder, Bealach Gin, said: “After careful planning and market research, we knew that we had a solid idea to launch our own craft gin. We approached Business Gateway Highland and met with our advisor who was instantly encouraging. We have very much benefited from the financial support of the start-up grant as there are so many costs to cover at the beginning.”

Dianne Swanepoel, Business Gateway Highland start-up adviser, said: “Catriona and Cara have worked really hard over the last year to launch their craft gin, and I’m so pleased that they can now call it an award-winning product.

“I would encourage anyone in the local area thinking of starting a business or growing an existing business to make contact with Business Gateway as your first stop shop and make the most of the funding support available.”

To find out more about how Business Gateway can help your business, visit https://bgateway.com.

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