THE co-founder of a fledgling Dumfriesshire gin and rum distillery has highlighted ambitions for growth in mainland Europe, including hopes of adding Romania as an export market soon.

Ray Clynick, who founded Dalton-based Oro Gin with father Raymond and mother Jacqueline after completing a degree in chemical biology, also flagged growth plans in Britain in spite of the UK market being “quite swamped”.

He meanwhile flagged the establishment of an office in Alicante in Spain as a move which would help insulate the business from potential Brexit effects, amid continued heightened uncertainty around this issue. He noted that Oro Gin had sent its first consignment to Spain last December, and was now “growing from the south-east in Alicante”.

Mr Clynick added: “We’ve also got meetings in Romania on the horizon and plan to send a consignment out there. It would be a really great start to 2019 to be exporting to two nations within our first 24 months of operation.”

Touching on Brexit, Mr Clynick said: “Due to the complexity and bizarre nature of Brexit, we have considered [what] may happen. However, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what this could be. By virtue of starting the Spanish outpost of the business, we have safeguarded our supply to Spain…

“Our Alicante office also means that, moving forward, we can use the Spanish company to supply the rest of Europe. If the worst-case scenario came about and trade became too problematic, we would use our knowledge to build a distillery in Europe, thus completely safeguarding our sales abroad.”

The distillery, which has been working with taxpayer-backed Business Gateway and Scottish Development International, produces two, small-batch gins, and has a cask of rum nearly into its second year of ageing. Oro is distilled with 15 botanicals, including pink pepper, lemongrass, cassia bark, cinnamon and juniper. The second gin, Oro V, features “fresh lavender, crisp citrus and gentle orris”.