DESPITE the uncertainties from the past year one Aberdeenshire gin company has continued to grow from strength to strength.
Owner of Ellon Gin, Keiren Murphy, has spent the past six months working on introducing two new flavours of gin liquers to his range – Rhubard & Lemon and Raspberry.
And it’s been a success with 15 shops across the North-east currently stocking his products which also includes a strawberry liquer.
The 27-year-old is now targeting opening new business premises and has applied for a licence to start selling Ellon Gin online.
Kieren, who still works full time as a retail store manager, said: “Covid set us back a little bit and slowed us down from what we wanted to achieve. There’s no doubt it did force us to relook at our business plan.
“All of our markets we were scheduled to attend got cancelled and it was there we would make money.
“It was a long slog of trying to get through the summer but it helped that I had a full time job because we probably would’ve gone bust if we didn’t have that job to keep us going.
“The business hasn’t lost money but just didn’t make enough to be able to support a wage.”
Despite the impact of Covid-19 Kieren pushed on with the business and invested in new equipment as well as developing the new flavours.
He said: “We knew there was lots of companies doing Rhubarb & Ginger so we thought we’d do something different but it turns out it was quite difficult to do.
“Yes you are just mixing a few ingredients together but it’s about getting the right level. It’s all about coming up with the right balance.
“It took 17 different batches for the rhubarb and raspberry was 9 to get it right. We’ve used more fruit than we’ve ever used before for the raspberry. The flavour is very intense.”
Previously Keiren, along with the help of his fiancé Steph Edwards, would produce 100 bottles a month in their kitchen. Each were then labelled by hand.
But thanks to their new equipment the productivity has increased to around 300 bottles.
Keiren, who is dad to 16-month-old Hamish, said: “We make a lot more bottles than what we did before.
“We now have bottle washers, bottling machine and one for labelling.
“All the capital expenses are done but we want to get our own premises soon, hopefully by the summer we can do that and it will allow us to get more space.
“The problem with doing it in your kitchen is that it’s one machine in and then one out. Everything needs to be cleaned down and put away.
“it’s definitely our next step and we are three months into the process of applying for a premises licence which will allow us to sell online.
“We are excited about what the future holds for the business.”