By Ian McConnell

A FORMER employee of Edinburgh retailer and wholesaler Royal Mile Whiskies has agreed to purchase the business in a deal which will also see him acquire Drinkmonger and The Cigar Box.

Whisky and spirits entrepreneur and enthusiast Iain McClune is buying the Dormant Distillery Company, of which the three businesses are part, from its founder, Keir Sword. Mr McClune, who worked for Royal Mile Whiskies for nearly a decade, is making the acquisition through his Vintage Saga business, the holding company of Whisky Auctioneer, Wine Auctioneer, Rum Auctioneer and Bright Spirits. The price being paid has not been disclosed.

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The businesses being acquired will all be retained, owned and operated in Scotland as part of the deal.

Royal Mile Whiskies was founded in 1991. It was bought in 1997 by Mr Sword, who was himself at that stage a returning former employee of Royal Mile Whiskies and has developed the business. He added The Cigar Box to the portfolio in 1999. He then added the Drinkmonger brand in 2011 with the opening of a shop in Pitlochry and another at Bruntsfield in Edinburgh later that year. Royal Mile Whiskies’ trade department is a wholesaler of specialist spirits to the Scottish bar trade.

Mr Sword said: “I am delighted to pass the business over to Iain, who as a former employee shares my affection for the business and understands the importance of our fantastic team of drinks enthusiasts. As a former employee who myself returned to buy Royal Mile Whiskies it is greatly satisfying to pass the baton on to one of our own, who shares my vision for the business and I trust to carry on our values.”

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He added: “The fact the business retains its independent spirit, but at the same time gains the backing and support of the equally enthusiastic and talented team at Vintage Saga, makes it a very exciting time for DDC. They inherit not only the wonderful staff, but a very supportive bunch of suppliers and loyal customers to all of whom I send my huge thanks for their contribution over the past quarter-century.”

Mr McClune said: “I echo Keir’s values and understand his vision for the future of the Dormant Distillery Company. The team at DDC is what makes it so unique and I am excited to be a part of it again. Vintage Saga and DDC are both independent Scottish companies with the same knowledge-centric approach and people-first culture. Under Keir’s tenure, Royal Mile Whiskies has become recognised as one of the great independent UK whisky merchants and this reputation is exactly what we look forward to building”