- Livingston-based craft rum distiller Matugga aims to lead Scottish rum’s march on the global stage with launch of cask investment offer
- Husband-and-wife owned company makes limited number of Scottish rum casks available to investors and spirits enthusiasts alike
- Revered whisky expert Charles MacLean MBE believes Matugga cask programme will ‘put Scottish rum on the map’
- Matugga set to lead new wave of Scottish distillers as UK rum sales now account for more than £1 billion a year, giving it a bigger market share than whisky
A new age of rum-distilling is on the horizon for Scotland, as the award-winning Matugga Distillery launches its private cask ownership programme to the public.
Inspired by the success of Scotch whisky, the distillery is offering people the chance to tap into the emerging market of rum cask ownership and to be ‘part of Scotland’s distilling history’, with revered whisky expert Charles MacLean MBE believing the move will ‘put Scottish rum on the map’.
A limited number of casks are available for an initial investment of £3,300 each. The result will be circa 350 bottles of 3-year-old rum per ex-Bourbon cask, produced using a 2,000-litre copper pot still by head distiller and leading craft rum expert, Paul Rutasikwa.
The exclusive cask ownership is available on a first come, first filled basis in what Paul describes as “a milestone moment for Scottish rum”.
Paul said: “This is an opportunity like no other to join us on a very special journey. Scotland has a little known and very deep rum heritage linked to the Age of Imperialism. Now, in 2023, we’re part of Scotland’s exciting new wave of rum distillers and there’s a real opportunity for us to create history and take Scottish rum worldwide.”
Matugga was one of the first UK businesses to produce rums distilled from scratch. Alongside his wife Jacine, Paul set-up the Livingston-based distillery in 2018. Their artisanal cask-aged and spiced rums have won multiple international awards, including two Gold medals at the Rum and Cachaça Masters.
And now, Paul and Jacine are inviting spirits enthusiasts on a ‘journey of discovery’ with their private cask programme titled ‘Pamoja’, translating to ‘Together’ in Paul’s native Swahili.
Paul said: “Most rums are aged in tropical countries. However, we have proved right here in Scotland that rum also ages brilliantly in cooler climates. Although it takes a bit longer, the end result is as delicious, mature and rounded as anything from the tropics.
“We’re excited to offer the unique opportunity to invest in one of our coveted casks filled with our new make rum. Over the course of three years, our spirit will mature and marry with the oak to produce a truly stunning and unique outcome. This is Pamoja – the spirit of togetherness.”
Matugga has been helped on its journey towards forging a new future for Scottish rum by a successful crowdfunding campaign, which in early 2022 secured the distillery in excess of £300,000. The six-figure sum has been put towards an eightfold increase in production capacity, while also enabling the distillery to grow its team.
Its award-winning brands Matugga and Liv are distributed across the UK and in Europe – thanks to a distribution deal for Matugga with renowned French importer DUGAS, and expansion into North America, Asia and Africa is on the horizon as the global appetite for Scottish spirits continues to grow.
In 2021, Scotch whisky accounted for 75 per cent of Scottish food and drink exports. Meanwhile, the global Rum market is projected to grow by 10.45% (2022-2025), resulting in a market volume of US$19.39bn in 2025. Because of this growing appetite for rum both at home and abroad, and the global demand for Scottish spirits, Paul believes the time is right for Matugga to become one of the world’s most-loved rum brands.
Accelerating this process, Paul and Jacine have formed strong bonds and cask exchange agreements within the Scottish whisky industry, particularly with Whyte and Mackay and their Master Whisky Maker and Blender Gregg Glass, who was recently named Master Distiller/Master Blender of the Year at the Icons of Whisky Scotland Awards.
Meanwhile, Matugga’s private cask programme has been given the support of leading whisky industry voice, Charles MacLean, who believes it’s time for Scottish rum to shine.
Paul said: “We’ve been really pleased by how collaborative the industry has been, and we’re excited about the potential for developing new ideas and unique combinations of flavours for both rum and whisky. We’re working on some exciting projects with Gregg and others – we share the same passion and we all want to ensure that Scotland’s drinks industry continues to lead the way.
“Similar to the art of Scotch whisky craftsmanship, the ageing of rum is a central part of our technical focus and we pride ourselves on expert barrel selection and first-class spirits management at every stage of the process. Scotland has an incredible distilling heritage and its global reputation for spirits production is phenomenal.
“We see real opportunity as more people begin to understand that rum can be premium and super-premium, and appreciate the complexity and versatility of rum. We believe Scotland can be as highly regarded globally when it comes to rum and we’re proud to help drive its rum revolution. When people think ‘rum’ we want them to think of Scottish rum alongside the world’s best. And that’s why we are excited to offer people the chance to be a part of Scotland’s distilling history by laying down their own stock of Scottish Rum – distilled entirely from scratch.”
Commenting ahead of the launch of the programme, Charles MacLean said: “This is an exciting project, and given the huge current interest in private cask sales of single malt whisky, I am sure it will have considerable appeal.
“For many years now, drinks writers have been saying that ‘rum will be the next malt’; recent statistics seem to support this.
“It will certainly put Scottish rum on the map, and given the global prestige of Scotch whisky, it will benefit from the connection”.
And award-winning whisky and rum writer Dave Broom echoes MacLean’s views, believing Scottish rum to be on the rise – with Matugga at the forefront.
He said: “I’ve been hugely impressed with the quality of rums coming out of Scotland – and of the thinking behind them. There is already diversity being built into the category and the collegiate aspect of the industry is heartening to see. A Scottish identity is emerging.
“After decades of rum about to be the next big thing in the world of spirits there is a clear global surge in interest and, thankfully, sales. Rum is growing – there are more countries producing, a greater range of approaches and a distinct move towards premium. All of this chimes with the approach taken by Scottish rum producers.
“Matugga’s cask programme certainly shows intent and a recognition that Scottish rum is ready to take the next step.”