An award-winning Scottish glassware company which makes products for the whisky industry and giftware market is to cease trading at the end of this month.

Bridge of Allan-based Angels’ Share Glass was established by Karen Somerville and her late father Tom Young, a master glassblower, in 2013 and it has since gone on to supply some of the biggest names in the distilling sector, as well as visitor centres and gift shops at home and abroad.

In an interview with The Herald in September 2020, Ms Somerville said she had long held ambitions to start her own company and came up with the idea while watching Ken Loach film The Angels’ Share. Her idea was to develop glassware products – glass-blown whisky angels - that would bring to life the myth of the angel’s share, the name given to the proportion of whisky which evaporates while the spirit matures in the barrel.

"I persuaded my glassmaking dad, Tom Young MBE, to come out of retirement and help me create our angels filled with whisky to bring the fable to life," Ms Somerville said at the time.

A crowdfunding appeal in 2016 helped raise the funding for its Bridge of Allan studio where it trained its own glassmakers.

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While the coronavirus pandemic saw the company’s business-to-business work dry up, it successfully switched its focus to direct sales and generating revenue through its own website. It went on to win the International Growth Award at The Herald Family Business Awards in December 2022.

However, in a post shared on LinkedIn, Ms Somerville revealed the news that the business would be closing down, stating that the passing of her father in May last year has “left a large hole in our lives and in the business”.

Ms Somerville wrote: “After 11 remarkable years, the angels at Angels Share Glass are folding their wings. I wanted you to be the first to know that Angels’ Share Glass Ltd will be closing on May 31st 2024.

“We’ve been so grateful for your unwavering support. We’ve loved sharing this amazing journey with you. The company has been more successful than we could ever have envisioned when my dad, Master Glassblower, Tom Young MBE, and myself sat down and dreamed up the concept of the original whisky angels.

“From our first tentative steps, we’ve really flown not only winning awards from the get-go but bringing employment to our small village and keeping those members of staff as friends. We’ve worked with some of the biggest names in whisky. Our whisky angels, water droppers & specialist whisky glassware have flown all over the world and been a global hit as gifts.

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“Tom’s pioneering work and expertise in glass-blowing and my knowledge of and passion for the world of whisky has led to me judging the prestigious Scottish Whisky Awards and co-founding the highly successful Fife Whisky Festival. As vice-chair of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (Scotland) and an ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland, I’ve also been able to share my business knowledge and expertise in ecommerce with other female entrepreneurs.

“My Dad’s passing last year left a large hole in our lives and in the business. We all miss him dreadfully. With new, exciting opportunities on the horizon for me, it was the natural time to take stock. As a team, we have achieved so many of our goals and while the decision to close Angels’ Share Glass has not been taken lightly, I felt it was important to go out on a high.”

Mr Young served his apprenticeship as a glassblower in Glasgow with R&J Wood, which made medical and laboratory glassware for hospitals, universities, and government research labs. He then moved out of industry and into academia, firstly at Loughborough University and then the University of Stirling, where he headed the glassblowing department. The Angels’ Share website notes that it was while at Stirling he began to make decorative pieces for friends and families, and for charity auctions.

After leaving the university in 1979, his career saw him set up his own lamp working company, Village Glass, which operated from a disused bakery in Bridge of Allan, and secure a range of high-profile commissions. In 2000 he was commissioned by Royal Ballet to produce a glass slipper and worked on many research projects for Johnnie Walker at Diageo’s technical centre in Menstrie. He helped design the trophy for the Johnnie Walker Championship, which was held at Gleneagles.

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Mr Young was awarded master glass blower status by the British Association of Master Scientific Glassblowers in 1977, and received the MBE for services to the glassblowing industry in 2017.

Ms Somerville said in the post that her father’s legacy has been secured by the University of Stirling, which holds his catalogued archive. Future exhibitions of his work are planned.

She paid tribute to the staff at Angels' Share Glass. “Our fantastic team are not just employees, but friends and we are looking after their interests," Ms Somerville said. "I’d like to pay tribute to them publicly for all their support and hard work over the years and to our board of directors.”

Ms Somerville added: “Our transition is being managed smoothly and calmly. All pending orders and obligations will be fulfilled promptly. We are committed to ensuring that your experience with us remains positive until the end. Your satisfaction has always been our top priority, and we remain dedicated to supporting you during this time of change.”

The Herald contacted Angels’ Share Glass and Ms Somerville for comment.