Tales from the Larder: Stories of resilience from Scotland's food & drink sector - Deeside Distillery
The Food & Drink sector, as with many other industries, has faced challenges during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Many organisations have found innovative and forward-thinking ways to keep their businesses operating and thriving in these uncertain times.
One of those businesses is Deeside Distillery. We spoke with Sian Parker, Portfolio Development Manager, to hear how they had dealt with the unexpected and unprecedented changes in market conditions, and introduced a completely new product line in a very short space of time.
“Deeside Distillery was originally a brewery, we introduced stills in 2017 to begin making spirits,” says Sian.
The distillery has been a huge success, winning awards and introducing cutting edge products, including the world’s strongest gin in 2018 – Naked Gin “Uncut” – with a 77% ABV strength.
“We have a range of delicious gins, and are one of relatively few distilleries that makes our own spirit and then adds the botanicals rather than buying in the spirit from a supplier. This makes our product particularly unique.”
The closure of bars and restaurants as part of the Coronavirus lockdown measures had an inevitable impact on many food and drink businesses predominantly supplying products to that sector.
At the same time, it was becoming clear that front-line primary care workers (including those in care homes, medical centres and nurseries) were struggling to find a supply of hand sanitiser, which was urgently needed.
“We recognised that we were in an ideal position to help, with the ability to distil the alcohol needed as the base product for the sanitiser,” explains Sian.
“Keen to do our bit we produced a small batch of hand sanitiser, distributing it to those who needed it in our local area. Following this initial batch of 4000 small bottles, demand for the sanitiser sky-rocketed, and we received enquiries from a wide range of customers but principally those providing front-line services during the pandemic.
“Increasing production to a much larger scale in order to produce thousands of litres, was required. This in turn led to the challenge of bottling the sanitiser into workable quantities.
“So we reached out to another local food and drink business Macphie of Glenbervie, who produce food products for the hospitality industry and were in a position to provide the bottling facilities.
“Collaborating together we’ve been able to extend production, introduce different sizes of sanitiser and cater to both wholesale and small offerings depending on customer needs.”
Recent months have been tough for so many businesses, and it is uplifting and encouraging to hear of businesses such as Deeside Distillery, demonstrating agility and flexibility during challenging times.
FIONA CLARKE, DIRECTOR AND MEMBER OF THE FOOD & DRINK TEAM AT BURNESS PAULL WAS IN CONVERSATION WITH SIAN PARKER, PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT MANAGER AT DEESIDE DISTILLERY.
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