“I know people think I’m mad launching a new brand in such strange times – but I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be positive.”
The Angus entrepreneur behind the Gin Bothy has won a supermarket deal with a new drinks brand.
Kim Cameron’s new venture, Hipflask Spirits, will be stocked in every Aldi store in Scotland by spring.
A slow bramble liquor and a full strength spiced rum are the first products made under the new brand. A whisky will follow next year.
Punch of flavour
The businesswoman said the Hipflask range will help protect and not compromise the Gin Bothy brand.
“Gin Bothy is artisan, small batch and will continue to not be supplied to supermarkets,” she said.
“Hipflask allows us to produce in bigger volumes in a 20cl bottle.
“It still has a real punch of flavour but we don’t have to soak the fruit for as long so it’s a quicker, more cost-effective process.
“We were selected as one of Aldi’s next top products and will be going into all 87 Scottish stores.
“The bottle can be easily carried in an inside pocket or bag. This is a drink that can be taken on any activity, whether that’s hillwalking, wild swimming or stargazing.”
Worked too hard to give up
Gin Bothy has been hit hard by the restrictions on the hospitality industry.
Covid-19 also meant the cancellation of events, which are a key way the company finds new customers.
Despite this, sales exceeded 60,000 70cl and 5cl bottles last year.
“We did 115 events in 2019 – last year it was 12,” Ms Cameron said.
“The lion’s share of Gin Bothy positioning is done through events such as the Royal Highland Show.
“Quickly we knew we had to react to protect what we’ve built. I’ve not worked this hard to give up.
“We needed another income stream. For us that meant create a brand that could go into supermarkets.
“It’s been in the pipeline for years but the challenges of 2020 gave me a little bit of space for new projects.
“I know people think I’m mad launching a new brand in such strange times – but I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to look to the future and be positive.”
Diversification protects Angus jobs
Gin Bothy launched its first spiced rum in August. It’s made with saffron, an ingredient more expensive than gold.
The company, which was founded in 2015, has a workforce of 14 staff. Its production site is in Kirriemuir.
Its visitor experience, housed within the former Angus Folk Museum in Glamis, opened in 2018. It is currently closed in line with Covid-19 restrictions.
Ms Cameron said: “Over the past five years Gin Bothy has created 14 rural jobs and I am very proud that despite all 2020 threw at us, those 14 jobs are secure.
“The creation of Hipflask is very much part of that survival but is also a chance to spread our creative wings.
“This is a brand we can try more with, play around with and have fun with, but is also one that provides more security for our existing team.
“The Hipflask Spirits’ branding harnesses the code for the road, a series of symbols and markings that are made to communicate helpful messages on the road less travelled, such as ‘bothy close by’ or ‘fish here’.
“We firmly believe a good road lies ahead and for those with a thirst for adventure we hope Hipflask Spirits will be with them as they forge their own path.”
Gin Bothy exports to the Netherlands and Denmark and also has ambitions to enter the US market.