Cask whisky offer

A malt whisky with your name on the label

Borders Distillery is rewarding its loyal independent customers by letting them earn their own free cask of single malt while making purchases from its spirits range.

For more details on how to join the Borders Distillery Enterprise Spirit scheme, contact
enterprisespirit@thebordersdistillery.com.

Independents are being given an exciting opportunity to create their own single malt whisky brand in a scheme launched by Hawick-based Borders Distillery.

The distillery is inviting retailers to sign up to earn their very own cask of Scotch whisky at no cost other than committing to sell a specific quantity of its premium spirit brands over a period of five years.

Stores that sign up to the Enterprise Spirit scheme will receive 10 points for each six-bottle case of the company’s William Kerr’s Gin, Puffing Billy Steam Vodka and Lower East Side Blended Malt Scotch they buy (all £32.99 rrp). There’ll also be 10 points for purchases of 12-bottle cases of Clan Fraser Reserve Blended Scotch (rrp £19.99).

Retailers will be able to choose from a selection of cask types: first-fill or refill bourbon, rum, red wine, Douro wine or rye whiskey. Their personal cask will be filled with new-make spirit and matured for a minimum of five years. These options will create unique single-cask bottlings for each participating retailer.

The cask can be unlocked for bottling once the retailer has chalked up a total of 1,000 points worth of accredited orders.

The distillery will provide packaging options upon bottling along with advice on labelling. Each cask will yield between 250 and 300 bottles, depending on the wood and abv that the store chooses to bottle at. Excise and duty will be payable on bottling and release from the bond.
Members can choose to mature their whisky for longer than five years, for which a nominal warehousing fee of £20 a year will be charged.

Apart from that, there are no additional costs involved – and member retailers will get a package of other benefits, including online staff training and tasting sessions to help sell the Borders brands, and priority access to allocations of future releases.

These will include Borders’ own single malt, whose release is some time off yet as the company intends to mature it beyond the three-year minimum required by law.

Borders produced its first spirit in 2018. The distillery is housed in a former power plant dating back to 1903, on the banks of the River Teviot in the centre of Hawick, a town with a rich industrial heritage as a centre for tweed and cashmere production.

“The spirit is developing brilliantly,” says Borders’ head of marketing Rod Gillies. “But we’re keeping our powder dry and making sure when we do launch it will be fantastic and be a great single malt.

“But we are doing other things in the whisky space and will be producing limited-edition expressions and releases that will be Scotch whisky, hopefully from next year. Members of the scheme will have access to the first allocations of those as well.”

The Enterprise Spirit scheme is a move that Borders hopes will foster long-term relationships with the independent retail trade which it sees as the natural sales environment for its premium spirits, each made with processes and personalities that set them apart in their markets.

Lower East Side is blended malt whisky competing in the same sort of premium mixing arena as contemporary Scotches, bourbons and Irish whiskeys.

Kerr’s gin is, unusually, made with malted barley spirit. “Rather than having tankers of neutral grain spirit moving around the country, we redistill our own spirit to make Kerr’s Gin. Our spirit moves about 12 feet, from the pot stills to the Carterhead,” says Gillies.

“The barley gives it a rounded, full texture in the mouth. It makes a great, balanced gin and tonic but it’s also one that cocktail bars love playing with because it can hold its own with lots of flavour nuances.

Puffing Billy Steam Vodka is made to a genuinely unique process. Now retailers and drinkers may have heard that kind of claim many times before, but it is the only vodka in the world made this way.

“We don’t filter it as a liquid; we steam it through charcoal inside the still itself, which the vodka’s named after. The result is a vodka with a real velvety, smooth mouthfeel that carries the barley character into the final product. It’s a vodka that actually tastes of something.”

Subtle differences from the norm in process and ingredients are what sets Borders apart from the crowd, says Gillies.

“We have an eye for tradition but a real willingness to do things in inventive ways, from how we make our spirits through to our commercial initiatives, including the Enterprise Spirit scheme.”

And that scheme gives retailers an opportunity to sell a single malt that can’t be bought anywhere else.

“From the name, the wood, the abv and the labelling, there a lot of tailoring that will go into the process to ensure that each store’s single malt will be different from the others that are out there,” Gillies says.

“And even after VAT and duty, the cost to the shop per bottle of that single malt will be very low, so if they’re retailing between 250 and 300 bottles there’s a fantastic margin opportunity. It’s long-term commitment but one that has a potentially significant pay-off in the future.”

For more details on how to join the Borders Distillery Enterprise Spirit scheme contact enterprisespirit@thebordersdistillery.com.

November 2020