Blackford Craft Distillery unveils expansion plans

1st June, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

Scottish spirits producer Blackford Craft Distillery has revealed plans for expansion as it prepares to launch a honey-flavoured vodka.

Vesperis Heather Honey Vodka will debut at Taste of Grampian tomorrow (2 June)

Vesperis Heather Honey Vodka will debut at Taste of Grampian festival tomorrow (2 June)

Based in Blackford, near Rothienorman, the distillery was founded by Neil and Katie Sime in 2017.

The range consists of Vesperis Pictish Gin and Vesperis Pictish Vodka. In 12 months, the distillery has sold more than 3000 bottles of its vodka. The gin will also be exported to Europe following interest from a Danish retailer.

A new expression, Vesperis Heather Honey Vodka, will be launched at food and drink festival Taste of Grampian tomorrow (2 June).

The expression, thought to be the first Scottish honey vodka, uses Aberdeenshire heather honey from Udny Provender in Methlick.

As part of its expansion plans, the distillery will launch a “fruit-finished gin”, hire a third full-time staff member, and aim for its products to be “stocked in a high-end specialist retailer by the end of the year”.

“We chose heather honey as one of our primary botanicals as we are inspired by Blackford’s local landscape and ancestral heritage,” said Neil Sime.

“That ancient inspiration used in a modern context was really important for us when looking for unique botanicals. It also tastes incredible, much richer and more floral than some other types of honey, you can literally taste the heather in it.

“To keep that rich, floral flavour, we began experimenting with the idea of creating a Scottish heather honey vodka, based on Polish krupnik. We are incredibly proud of the result; the separate flavours of the honey are evident across the palate, subtle without overpowering, and the hint of the heather blossom gives a wonderful finish. It is a Scottish twist on a Polish classic.”

In addition, the distillery was recently selected to participate in Opportunity North East and Aberdeenshire Council’s food and drink Business Growth Programme, designed specifically to accelerate growth within North East Scotland’s food and drink sector.

Neil Sime added: “Our experience in the business growth programme has provided us with the tools to approach larger retailers, analyse gaps in the market and generate ideas for future market trends.

“Blackford Craft Distillery is, at its heart, a family business with its roots in north east Scotland, but we have great ambition for expansion.”

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