Matugga Distillery

Scotland’s second rum distillery is due to start production this week.

Matugga Distillers, run by husband and wife duo Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, originally began distilling rum in small batches in London in 2015, but moved to Scotland this year to scale up production (Scotland’s first rum distillery, Dark Matter, began production in 2015). 

Their new £100k distillery, in Livingston, features two 200l copper pot stills, bringing its production capacity to 50,000l per year. It was financed with personal investments, a bank loan and grant support from West Lothian Council and Business Gateway. 

With its opening the brand is predicting a 400% hike in turnover, and will seek to hire for five new roles at the new base.

Matugga’s rums had “a uniquely East African flavour profile achieved using sugar cane molasses from the region and a masala chai blend of black tea, ginger, cloves, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon”, said the brand, which currently makes two SKUs - Matugga Golden Rum and Matugga Spiced Rum (both 42% abv).

The brand already exports rum through French distributor Dugas. It has shipped 1,000 bottles to France and the EU in the last year alone.

“The signature smoky aspect of our rums isn’t dissimilar to lightly peated whiskies,” said Matugga CEO Jacine Rutasikwa, which made them “the perfect sipping spirit or a quality addition to popular cocktails, like an Old Fashioned”.

“Building on the success we’ve had in Europe, the next year will see us focus on making friends and contacts in the on-trade and off-trade,” she added.

It comes as sales of rum have surged over the last year. As The Grocer’s Focus on Spirits report revealed last month, value sales of white, golden and dark rums combined grew by a combined £21.2m to £360.4m.

Of that growth, dark rum was the star performer, growing £13.6m to £106.2m, followed by golden (up £5.9m to £108.9m) and white (up £1.6m to £145.4m) [Nielsen 52 w/e 17 June 2018].