McQueen Gin is celebrating after launching a new flavoured gin with Aldi in Scotland and securing a UK wide listing in the supermarket's spirits festival worth almost £350,000. 

The new contract saw Callander-based McQueen Gin create four new own-label gins for Aldi’s UK-wide Spirits Festival, with the total value of contracts secured with the retailer now approaching £2 million.

The new Toradh Rhubarb and Ginger gin is the first gin to be launched into Aldi Scotland’s core spirits line by the distillery since October 2018.

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McQueen Gin began working with Aldi in 2017 when they featured in Aldi’s first Scottish Gin Festival. Then, in 2018 the distiller created a colour changing gin which was launched exclusively into Scottish stores. The gin enjoyed such success that it was rolled out across the UK as a special buy and is now a core line in Scotland alongside McQueen Pink Gin.  

The partnership enabled McQueen Gin to significantly extend its distillery in 2019 and increase capacity by over 1000%. 

Dale McQueen, managing director, McQueen Gin said: “The relationship that we have developed with Aldi over the past three years has been hugely important to the success of our business, helping us grow our turnover significantly and allowing us to invest in our distillery and increase capacity. 

“We’ve created Toradh Rhubarb and Ginger Gin exclusively for Aldi which adds something new to Aldi’s core spirits range in Scotland and compliments our popular Colour Changing Gin and Pink Gin well. 

“It’s great to work with a team who share our mindset and passion for Scottish produce. They and their customers hold true appreciation for the Scottish gin category, along with a strong desire to support innovation and experiment with new flavours and products, which makes for a very fulfilling partnership.” 

Graham Nicolson, of Aldi Scotland, said: “We’re very pleased to launch a new core line product with McQueen Gin and would like to congratulate them on securing a UK wide listing in the Spirits Festival.

"This has been a real success story for both McQueen Gin and Aldi Scotland, and we are extremely proud of the relationship we have developed with Vicky, Dale and their team over the past three years. Supporting Scotland’s food and drink suppliers and producers is at the heart of our business, which is why we have committed to expanding our Scottish product range to 500 locally sourced products over the next two years.” 

The measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak "fall some way short of what is urgently needed to rescue Scotland’s tourism industry from a perilous situation", a tourism leader has said.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said the Chanceller's furlough replacement scheme is restricted to those firms that have managed to reopen.

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He said: "The Jobs Support Scheme will only help businesses which have sufficient demand to pay these minimum hours; the majority of tourism businesses simply will not be able to do so as their businesses are either closed due to legislation or restrictions.

"This continues to create pressure on the payroll at a time when consumer confidence and demand for the services which the tourism sector offers is at an all-time low, coupled with the increased restrictions in place. There is not enough work for people in our sector and employers cannot afford to pay staff when there is no work so we can still expect to see mass redundancies.

He also said: "The impact of the extension of the current rate of VAT at 5% until March 2021 will have a marginal effect on our industry, given that so many businesses will now be forced to make redundancies and close their doors for good.

"News of the loan repayment extension, Pay as you Grow, and the extended opportunity for businesses to continue to apply for loans as a last resort, with the knowledge of there being less pressure on repayment timelines will be welcomed by many but sadly, it just won’t go far enough to protect and save our industry from significant decline.

"I know so many businesses within the tourism industry and supply chain were hopeful that today’s announcement would offer an immediate life-line, especially those businesses who have not been able to restart or have been significantly impacted by the loss of the international market.

"The reality we must all face now is that within the coming days and weeks, businesses owners will lose their livelihoods, thousands will lose their income and the effects on the economy and people’s lives will be nothing short of devastating."

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: "Hundreds of thousands of jobs in Scotland are reliant on the current furlough scheme so we are pleased the Chancellor has listened to our calls and introduced a new wage support scheme, along with a package of business lending scheme extensions and tax forbearance.

"This should help save many from losing their jobs completely and lessen the immediate pressure on cash flow for businesses, particularly during what will continue to be difficult trading conditions this coming winter.

"However topping up wages can only ever be a sticking plaster. In Scotland we need a comprehensive plan focused on retraining and upskilling our workforce and investment in the creation of new jobs.

"As a matter of urgency, we need both governments to reduce costs so we are able to invest and start growing our businesses again. We call on the Scottish Government to put a stop on the legislative instrument going through the Scottish Parliament next month which would delay the revaluation of property rates from 2022 to 2023. We must also fast track all construction and infrastructure contracts that can get Scottish businesses building back.

"We need to build confidence for businesses and the consumers that support them.”

Mr Sunak's measures are to replace the furlough scheme and help the UK economy to continue to recover during the second wave of coronavirus infections.

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Here are the changes broken down:

- The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), a form of wage subsidy for "viable" jobs, will replace the furlough scheme, which will be wound down next month.

- The JSS will allow staff to be paid by their employer for working at least a third of their usual hours, with the Government topping up part of their salary that would have otherwise been lost due to working reduced hours.

- The Treasury said the Government would pay a third of an employee's equivalent salary, capped at £697.92 per month, meaning a third will go unpaid.

- All small and medium-sized businesses will be eligible for the wage support concept, which starts in November and runs for six months, but larger businesses will have to prove their profits have been hit by the pandemic.

- The current self-employed grant will be renewed on similar terms to the new Jobs Support Scheme, the Chancellor said.

- The temporary reduction of VAT rates from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors will be extended for a further two months, with a new deadline of March 31 2021.

- Mr Sunak said the extension of the VAT cut would add around £800 million to the existing £2.5 billion cost of the measure.

- Business "bounce-back loans" will have a "pay-as-you-grow" element added, giving loanees 10 years rather than six years to repay the money, a move that will slash monthly repayments by almost half, according to the Chancellor.

- Those struggling to repay their bounce-back loans will be able to choose to make interest-only payments and "anyone in real trouble" will be permitted to suspend repayments all together for up to six months, said Mr Sunak.

- The deadline for taking out a coronavirus business interruption loan will be extended until November 30, with Mr Sunak also increasing the Government guarantee on them for up to 10 years.

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