Rum producer Matugga Distillery has launched a crowdfunding campaign to become a cane-to-cask producer and export worldwide.
Founded by husband and wife Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, Matugga Distillers produces Matugga Golden Rum and Matugga Spiced Rum.
The £300,000 (US$391,606) equity crowdfunding campaign, for a company with a pre-money valuation of £1.2 million (US$1.5m), will enable the distillery to become a cane-to-cask producer, with plans already in motion to develop a sugarcane plantation in Uganda, export on a global basis and expand its team.
The money will also go towards purchasing an additional distillery kit, which is predicted to increase output by eightfold.
Jacine commented: “The rum market is ready for disruption, and while the UK craft rum category is relatively new, we’re producing some of the most adventurous and unique rum expressions available anywhere in the world.
“Hardly any major retailers stock locally made craft rum, but the appetite is there so we need to think big to be ready to meet that opportunity.”
Matugga Distillers moved its rum production to Scotland from England in 2018. Each bottle is said to be produced from scratch in Scotland, and then infused with Scottish, East African and Jamaican botanicals. The rum is produced using wild fermentation and copper pot distillation.
Paul added: “We have substantial ties to Uganda, and our team shares a common desire to support the livelihoods of sugarcane growers in East Africa.
“With this at the front of our mind, we are developing a sugarcane plantation on our family land in Matugga that will employ and train local agricultural workers. By harvesting cane from our land and converting it into high-quality distilling molasses we will become a cane-to-cask rum producer.”
The majority of the distillery’s spirit is matured in oak barrels, with some products aged in casks previously used to store wine, Cognac, Bourbon, Sherry or Port.
Supporting Black businesses
Jacine is also hopeful the campaign will lead a positive example for other Black entrepreneurs.
She added: “When starting a business, Black entrepreneurs, female entrepreneurs and particularly Black female entrepreneurs face huge barriers and often struggle to get to the next phase for a number of reasons – whether its access to finance, networks, education or mentorship.
“There are still, sadly, systemic inequalities and individual and institutional biases at play. But we’re lucky that since moving to Scotland we’ve encountered a highly supportive community who value our craftsmanship and are as excited about our growth plans as we are.
“We’re inviting rum lovers to back our business and help us take Scottish rum worldwide.”
Additionally, Paul is currently collaborating with Gregg Glass, master whisky maker and blender at Whyte & Mackay. The company is also collaborating with Heriot-Watt University on a project to find new ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the distillery.
The crowdfunding campaign for Matugga Distillery can be found though Crowdcube.
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Author: Alice Brooker