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Matugga Distillers moves rum production to Scotland

Matugga Distillers is due to start production at its new site in Livingston – thought to be the first rum distillery in central Scotland.

Matugga Distillers CEO Jacine Rutasikwa and master distiller Paul Rutasikwa

Founded by husband and wife Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, Matugga Distillers produces Matugga Golden Rum and Matugga Spiced Rum.

The rums were originally produced in England before moving production to Scotland.

The £100,000 (US$130,000) distillery is equipped with two 200-litre copper pot stills, which are able to produce 50,000 litres of rum in its first year. The firm is forecasting a 400% increase in turnover over the next 12 months.

The site is expected to create five full-time roles, including positions in distilling and business development.

It has been funded through a combination of personal investment, a bank loan and grant support from West Lothian Council and Business Gateway.

Described as having an east African flavour profile, Matugga is a combination of sugarcane molasses from the region and a masala chai blend of black tea, ginger, cloves, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon.

The husband-and-wife team and their two daughters relocated to Scotland in July 2017 when Paul started a Masters degree in Brewing and Distilling at Edinburgh-based Heriot-Watt University.

Through a distribution deal with Dugas, Matugga Distillers has shipped 10,000 bottles of rum to France and across the EU in the last year.

Paul, who is also master distiller of the company, said: “Scotland has hundreds of years of distilling expertise and history. This, combined with my African heritage, is what will inspire us to create new and exciting rums.

“We can think of no better place to be launching our new distillery and beginning such an exciting journey.”

Jacine, who works as CEO, added: “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; while continuing to bring something different to the UK rum scene as a whole.”

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