Once a Man, Twice a Boy.

Once a Man, Twice a Boy.

Welcome to one and all,

June is here and yes this is my May blog entry, so hopefully if I can get myself organised you might be lucky enough to get two blogs in one calendar month! I've got quite a bit to ramble about this month so let us get to it…

We are just back from a week on Ardnamurchan with the full clan; a week never feels like enough, especially when the weather is good and we are busy catching up with our local friends. I obviously chipped away at a couple of jobs at the Distillery whilst I was there but the purpose of the trip was to enjoy my time with Katie, the boys, the in-laws, and Poppy (The Golden Retriever).

It was a great time to reset and clear my headspace. Speaking of headspace, a clearing was most definitely required, as with most self-funded startups, the first few years are always an uphill battle. However, just recently the huge amount of effort required and the minimal financial benefits have begun to wear thin. It requires me to step back and remind myself (with a little verbal dressing down from Katie) that this was all part of the plan and was the expected route of our growth and that value comes from more than just money in the bank. The lifestyle and freedom running Igneous gives us enriches our lives in other ways and life is far too short to waste a day worrying about the little things.

During a good chat with one of our friends up at Achnaha, he dropped a line which brought a smile to my face and it was a great reminder of the happy-go-lucky and enthusiastic attitude I need to run Igneous. “You are once a man, but twice a boy”. I promised myself when we set off on this journey I wouldn’t let myself get stressed out by the hard days, but rather embrace the challenge with a boyish attitude and level of energy. This is my second chance to be a boy again and be a fun partner and father.

We are growing and at 10 months since launch into one of the toughest markets in the world with a product already heavily saturated, our achievements to this point have been nothing less than fantastic.

The Gin Guide Awards were hopefully the sign of things to come for Igneous. Revealing the results at the start of May, we were announced as a Winner of the Traditional Gin Category under 42% ABV, Winner of The Design and Branding Award, and also New Distillery Of The Year 2024. We came away from these announcements numb; how could myself and Katie achieve something so amazing so early in our journey. Proud is an understatement and we will use this as a springboard for our continued growth and development.

We have been clear that we want to build strong foundations for the business and we know that any produce business needs to have a strong stockist network. Subsequently, we have continued to source and develop relationships with other businesses around the country, and I'm hoping to start doing a bit of a social media campaign around Spotlight on a Stockist. However, this month a lot of our focus has been on getting Igneous behind the bar of local hospitality venues. Ardnamurchan is well into the tourist season now and nothing looks better for a venue to be able to offer a locally produced product, especially when it's an award-winning one!

Building on this theme of strong business relationships, we have been keen to further our support for the local communities. We are very much in the early days of this but we have a really exciting development with a brand new local sports team; we are throwing ourselves fully behind them and hope to raise awareness for them and with them for local charity events.

Every year the local community puts on a Pram Race which is a hilarious event of fun and laughter, but equally highly competitive, if you ever get the chance to visit Kilchoan around the time of this event I would highly recommend popping down to witness it. All the proceeds of the event go towards supporting the local primary school. We are a proud sponsor of this event this year and cannot wait to see all the different teams self-produced and decorated prams.

Back to business, our bottles are now all beautifully adorned with our new extra sticky labels on the correct paper stock, they visually look more or less identical. However, they have a far superior feel to them, and no more lifting in damp conditions! These little snags are sent to test us, but let's put it down to experience.

Looking into the future, we have two or three major aims for our product development. Firstly, our miniatures. We will shortly be heads down designing a brand sympathetic 50ml bottle which will be entirely handmade just like our main bottle, and again will be the only mini on the market that is hand-made by the distillery that produces the Gin to fill it. Excuse the pun, but we will be breaking the mould on this one.

Secondly, a new product line. For some time now I've had the drive to produce an Ardnamurchan Rum. Our Gin recipe took 4 years to complete, I'm hoping the Rum won't take as long but I am passionate about it being a Rum that we love. Additionally, the bottle again has to be a ground breaker, whilst maintaining our design I want to tweak elements to make waves in the industry.

Third and finally, we are in the process of making gift packs in time for the festive season to contain Katie's handcrafted ceramic tumblers with our beautiful West Highland Dry Gin. So keep an eye on our socials for all our little adventures and developments.

Currently, we are in the thick of getting ready for two approaching shows at the end of the month in Newcastle and London which are in quick succession. We are really excited for them both and love the buzz that the shows create around the brand and product; which is a world away from sitting and writing a blog in our local Toyota garage whilst the van is in for its MOT as I am at present… oh the glamour!

Anyway, I'm off to treat myself to a complimentary Latte and Biscuit. I hope you all have a lovely remaining June and I'll see you back here in a few weeks.

Miles and Katie x

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