Matugga, which is said to be the UK's first distillery owned by a black woman, plans to take Scottish rum world-wide by blending Scottish distilling skills with its African and Caribbean roots.

 

Livingston-based Matugga Distillery has passed its £300,000 funding target with more than two weeks remaining in its crowdfunding campaign.

Owned by managing director Jacine Rutasikwa and her Ugandan-born husband Paul, Matugga has signed up more than 200 new shareholders through its Crowdcube campaign. With 15 days left to run, the pair are hoping to raise even further cash as they target "overlooked" markets in Africa.

The funds will be used to buy new distillery kit and recruit additional staff. Mr Rutasikwa, Matugga's head distiller, is also beginning work on a sugarcane plantation in Uganda that will make the company a “cane to cask” producer.

“The African market is buoyant but craft drinks companies in the UK don’t see the opportunity," he said.

HeraldScotland:

“When it comes to export, UK companies immediately think of Asia and North America - but they are missing out on huge demand, appetite and spending power across African nations. 

“We are fortunate to have the contacts, cultural affinity, family ties and product-market fit to be an early mover. We want to supply our unique, high-quality spirit to rum drinkers around the world, and to convert many new ones along the way.”

At the launch of the firm’s crowdfunding campaign, Ms Rutasikwa cited the “systemic inequalities” facing black entrepreneurs as a “significant factor” in their decision to explore crowdfunding. She puts the company’s Crowdcube success down to one thing above all else.

“We make fantastic rum”, said the London-born MD, whose grandparents were part of the post-war Windrush generation who migrated from the Caribbean to the UK.

HeraldScotland:

“We know our worth and we are focused. We make a product that is worth backing and we know that because of all the incredible feedback we get from customers. I hope our funding success will inspire other entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds."

Every bottle is distilled from scratch in Scotland and infused with Scottish, East African and Jamaican botanicals. The rum is produced using a degree of wild fermentation and 100% copper pot distillation, with the majority of the spirit matured in oak barrels and some products aged in high-quality wine, cognac, bourbon, sherry or port casks. 

“Our love, our passion and our attention to detail shines through in everything we do," Ms Rutasikwa added.

“Not only do people get invested in our products, but they become invested in our story. People think what we’re doing is different, and there’s been incredible support and goodwill from our community.“