Lee Schofield and Steve Horne.


42 and 59 respectively.

What is your business called?

Our overall business name is Hemisphere Brands Ltd. The company manages the Magnum Scotch Malt Whisky Cream Liqueur brand globally. We wanted our business name to reflect the international nature of our business.

Where is it based?


What services does it offer?

We are the global brand agents for Magnum - a single Scotch malt whisky cream liqueur, crafted and bottled in Edinburgh. We source the dry goods, schedule production, market, sell and secure distribution for the brand across our strategic target markets, including the UK, Canada and South Africa.

To whom does it sell?

Cream liqueurs traditionally lean towards the female consumer. We think Magnum’s Scotch malt whisky factor and modern packaging creates a broader appeal, bridging the male - female cream and whisky consumption divide.

Availability of Magnum has grown nationally and internationally, across multi-channels including venues such as Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Historic Scotland and the Scotch Whisky Experience. Online sales via our website have become increasingly important.

What is its turnover?

From a standing start in 2015, turnover grew to £735,000 in 2018.

How many employees?


When was it formed?


Why did you take the plunge?

We were asked to help develop a liquor brand from inception to market, globally. The cream liqueur category is dominated by a single brand so we were excited by the disruptive challenge, the opportunity to introduce a premium scotch-based alternative and the freedom to focus our energy according to what we believed was right for the brand. The scope and scale of the prospect was irresistible.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

We were both senior executives in the tobacco industry. We spent 20 years with multi-national tobacco companies based in the UK, Middle East, Far East and Africa in a series of country management, sales and marketing roles.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

From savings. We’re both based in Edinburgh where the brand is bottled and our initial trade and consumer focus was Scotland, so our costs were mitigated.

What was your biggest break?

Two events spring to mind! Our very first order of two cases (24 bottles) to Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh delivered from the boot of our car. This meant we’d broken the ice. Then in May last year we presented to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), Canada, a quasi monopoly and one of the largest purchasers of liquor in the world. They understood the brand immediately. Their first order was for 1800 cases in October 2018, with a further four orders already placed this year. We’ve just secured representation in Quebec, comparable in size to Ontario and with similar potential.

What was your worst moment?

When it was made known to us, prior to fulfilling the first LCBO order, that our flasks (bottles), labelled ‘Liqueur’ would not be compliant in Ontario. In order to secure the listing, progress the order and meet the shipment deadline we had to manually over-sticker each bottle (all 21,600 of them) with three ‘Liquor’ stickers, a total of 64,800 applications. It cost £21,000 for materials and labour. New dry goods now reflect the mandatory ‘Liquor’ reference.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

After years of corporate life in a FTSE 100 company, the autonomy and flexibility in deciding how to set the vision and grow a business is challenging, rewarding and refreshing in equal measure. Success and failure is easy to judge and you need to constantly adapt. When you see your brand on shelf in international markets competing with the ‘big boys’ there is a real sense of achievement and satisfaction.

What do you least enjoy?

We are a small team of two! The administration side of everything can be a distraction, from VAT returns to management of expenses which can be a little mundane to say the least.

What is your biggest bugbear?

Packaging and labelling. No two markets are the same and with our business becoming increasingly international it can take up to nine months to secure compliance once a deal has been struck. The impact on dry goods forecasting and production scheduling is the added complication.

What are your five top priorities?

UK - making the brand more accessible and available to consumers, new and existing.

Canada - grow volume in Ontario, get off to a flying start in Quebec.

Duty free/travel retail - increase our presence - Magnum is ‘built’ for travel retail.

South Africa - launch Magnum in the fourth quarter of 2019.

New product development - we are in the cream business - there are other liquor combination opportunities!

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

We’ve had determined enquiries from key European ‘cream’ markets such as Iberia and France. Our focus is currently elsewhere but we are keen to pursue opportunities for volume growth wherever the category is in growth and has significance. Certainty around tariffs and labelling in relation to Brexit is needed before we can properly investigate these new markets. Until then, we cannot be confident of product pricing, positioning and compliance.