Johnston Carmichael helps Moray Distillery expand into new markets

British drinkers downed 40 million bottles of gin in 2016

Business advisory specialist Johnston Carmichael has helped to facilitate a Speyside distiller’s expansion into the fractional bottle market.
Thanks to the Edinburgh-based firm’s support, Moray Distillery revealed new 20cl mini versions of its Avva Scottish Gin and Avva Navy Strength Gin for the first time at this year’s Royal Highland Show.
Moray Distillery, which is based in Elgin and specialises in handcrafted small-batch distilling after starting production a year ago, says smaller bottles offer consumers the opportunity to sample premium spirits at a more affordable price point and make ideal gifts. It claims they are also popular with convenience store stockists and off-licences as the smaller size enables them to offer a wider range despite space constraints.
The distillery, which is thought to be the only UK gin distiller using a Scottish-manufactured copper, says its Avva gin is produced with a selection of specially selected botanicals foraged from the Highlands.
It was founded by Jill Brown, who also owns liqueur producer Berry Good, which was established when she was a mature student. After working as an agricultural officer for five years, Brown packed in her day job in 2015 to establish Moray Distillery Ltd and produce gin.
According to Brown, sales of gin are surging, with British drinkers downing 40 million bottles in 2016 – representing a 12% increase compared to 2015. It’s thought that around 70% of all gin consumed in the UK is produced in Scotland.
Her first batch of Avva Scottish Gin was launched in August 2016 and a Navy Strength version followed in March 2017.
Brown said: “There was a lot of gin in the market already so when I launched I wanted to ensure I had the right advice. I approached Johnston Carmichael because it had both in-depth knowledge of the food and drink sector, and it was also able to provide expertise in tax. Being able to get these services under one roof has been a big advantage for my business.
“After reviewing market research and undertaking their own analysis – which included visiting lots of supermarkets and keeping an eye on competitors – the Johnston Carmichael team suggested that smaller bottles would be a good way to get more customers to try our gins. Bottling research shows increasing demand for 10cl and 20cl bottles. Consumers want to access premium products at an affordable price.”
Adam Hardie, Head of Food and Drink at Johnston Carmichael, said: “Working with Moray Distillery has been really exciting for us and it has been encouraging to see it grow.
“Provenance and flavour are very important in the gin sector. Produced in Elgin using Highlands botanicals, Moray Distillery’s Avva Scottish Gin has both in spades. The new bottle sizes will appeal to drinkers who are keen to try something special either for themselves or as a gift for family or friends.
“With our strong track record in the food and drink sector, we look forward to working closely with Jill as she continues to expand the business and grow her share of the booming gin marketplace.”
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