Matt Gammell and Marcus Pickering demonstrate they have the spirit for success after founding Edinburgh’s first exclusive gin distillery in over 150 years. With as many as 1,400 different varieties available across the world, gin has become an increasingly crowded market. But Pickering’s Gin, supported by GloalScot, has already built an international fan base.
Matt, who co-founded the hand-crafted spirit at Edinburgh’s Summerhall Distillery, admits he initially thought his firm was a little late in joining the party. He said: “With so many new gins coming to market, I genuinely thought we had some catching up to do. In hindsight, we can actually see now that we were at the start of the curve.”
Scottish gin down under
Matt and Marcus are targeting key international markets, with a particular focus on Australia and New Zealand. He added: “We’d decided both territories were ideal for the products we were creating. Part of the reason was we already had some good contacts in both countries. Added to that, we were aware that plans were already in place for the touring Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to visit both countries.”
The arrival of one of Scotland’s most high profile events provided the perfect opportunity for the firm to launch its products, building on a relationship with Pickering’s as the Tattoo’s official gin in 2014. GlobalScot, Ramsey Macpherson, arranged for Matt and Marcus to meet with Nancy Raich of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Matt enthused: “I was aware of GlobalScot for some time but it became really relevant for us once we’d identified which markets we wanted to target.
“We were introduced to Ramsey in August 2015, began putting the wheels in motion and agreed to meet again in Australia in November.
“He really was fantastic for us, particularly in helping to secure our deal with the Tattoo in Australia, allowing us to showcase our products to guests when it came to Melbourne in early 2016.
Matt added: “Ramsay also put us in touch with the company in Australia that is now our distributors. It runs a franchise called Whisky Live, importing and distributing a number of spirits. We were able to meet them face-to-face, agreeing a deal and also take comfort that our product wouldn’t end up in discount retailers or low budget supermarkets.”
A global support network
With success secured in Australia, Ramsay helped Pickering’s Gin find new opportunities in New Zealand. He continues: “Through Ramsey, we were put in touch with Scottish Development International’s Iain Steele who reached out to his network of contacts in New Zealand.
He said: “That led us to GlobalScot, Iain Fraser, who arranged contact with Regional Wines & Spirits in Wellington and, within an hour of meeting them, we agreed a distribution deal. Thanks to the GlobalScot network, we’ve achieved great distributors in both our target countries. And while it’s still early days we have a fantastic relationship with both.
“After only a few months our Australian distributors arranged significant listings with one of the main chains of independent wine shops in Sydney. And, in New Zealand, we’ve had great uptake from good independent retailers throughout the country."
New horizons, continued support
“Things are going in the right direction. The next stage of our campaign is to target the US. We’re fully aware that’s a daunting task which we know will take longer to crack but we’ll look to replicate the approach we took with GlobalScot in Australia and New Zealand.”
And Matt confirms that GlobalScot’s support has been invaluable: “Ramsey and Iain’s access to contacts, to the right people, really made a difference. It’s fantastic to have that level of support.”