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Independent whisky bottler toasts great first year with funding for international expansion

Paul Jamieson and Julian Mithoff (DamGoodDrams)

GLASGOW-based DamGoodDrams, an ecommerce platform specialising in independent spirits, is gearing up to launch its own line of whisky and take its business overseas, following a successful first year. 

Founded in October 2020, DamGoodDrams sells a range of independent whiskies. The company quickly took off and, as the hospitality industry bounced back from the pandemic, directors Paul Jamieson and Julian Mithoff noticed a growing demand across international markets and decided to make plans to take their business further afield.

Paul and Julian are already in talks with international distributors, distilleries and cask brokers in Europe, North America and East Asia, to expand their rare and independent whisky offering and begin shipping worldwide. 

There are two strands of the company, one for resale of casks and bottles and another as an independent bottler where Paul and Julian can add label design, whisky finish and strength – creating their own unique whisky.

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In addition to the resale on its ecommerce platform, DamGoodDrams is sourcing casks for their own bottlings which will be released in September this year. Their own independent bottlings will stay true to the spirit of independent bottlers by being creative and finishing whiskies in new and interesting flavours.

To support the expansion and the purchase of casks for bottling as its own line, the company secured a £15,000 funding package from Transmit Startups through the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme, with another £10,000 to follow next year. 

Paul Jamieson said: “It’s been an incredible journey so far, and we’re eager to start trading internationally. There’s already considerable interest in our platform, with independent bottlers and distilleries approaching us, wanting to sell their whisky on our site which is really encouraging.

“The next exciting step for us is getting our own independent whisky launched and begin selling that overseas as well. We are so grateful to Transmit Startups and the Start Up Loans Programme for all the funding and support.

“After a very promising start for DamGoodDrams, we feel confident taking our business further, and we already have a couple of suppliers lined up for when we start shipping outside of the UK. Next year, we hope to branch out with our own bottling warehouse which would be a huge milestone for us and enable us to bottle our own whisky releases faster.”

DamGoodDrams is one of 892 small businesses in Glasgow to receive funding from the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme since the initiative was launched in 2012.

Susan Nightingale, UK network director, Scotland at the British Business Bank, said: “Scotland’s whisky industry is full of opportunities for entrepreneurs with a passion for the craft and skill involved in distilling and bottling, and DamGoodDrams is a great example of how ambition and the right support can make dreams become reality. Our Start Up Loans Programme is designed to help founders like Paul and Julian to succeed and it’s inspiring to see them develop their business into new markets.”

Adam Clements, business advisor, Transmit Startups, said: “Everything about this business looked… well, really good, from the outset! They’re growing their business incrementally, using the Start Up Loans scheme to really unlock their potential, and I’m impressed with the way they’ve built on their strong foundations. And I also know how to pick the right drink to toast their successes!”

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