By Ian McConnell

SCOTTISH entrepreneurs Richard Dixon and Claire Kinloch have unveiled their plans to launch a new global rum brand.

Mr Dixon, who sold the successful Vets Now chain in 2018, is providing financial backing for the Harpalion Spirits venture and will be its chairman, with a premium spirit combining five aged rums, finished on Speyside, due to be launched in March. Harpalion is led by Ms Kinloch, who is also chief executive of strategy consultancy Genoa Black.

The pair said more exclusive products would follow.

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Their first release comprises single-source rums from the Caribbean, Guyana, Guatemala, Trinidad and Panama, finished naturally in Scotland in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. The entrepreneurs noted the product was uncoloured, non-chill-filtered and came in at 43% alcohol by volume.

Harpalion Spirits will launch its rum brand and product to Scotland and the rest of the UK this spring with international sales expected from 2022.

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Mr Dixon said: “The spirits sector is fascinating. It constantly needs to reflect the changing nature of consumer behaviour and is always innovating. Never more so than in the current climate where, despite a real shift in consumer behaviour and the obvious current challenges in the sector, this brings real opportunities to think differently.”

Ms Kinloch revealed the venture was formed after Mr Dixon approached Genoa Black to conduct a study of the global spirits sector.

She said: “Richard has a real knowledge and passion for rum and last year he approached Genoa Black to carry out a feasibility and strategy project looking at the spirit sector worldwide. We quickly uncovered a strong and unmet demand for a high-quality ‘sipping’ rum. So we decided to establish our own company.”