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A taste of Africa

Matugga Distillery ready to produce rum in Scotland

Jacine & Paul Rutasikwa at rum distillery

Rum do: Jacine and Paul Rutasikwa intend to bring a flavour of Africa to Scotland


 

The first rum distillery in Central Scotland – Matugga Distillers – is ready to start production at its new facility in Livingston.

The £100,000 distillery is equipped with two 200 litre copper pot stills, capable of producing 50,000 litres of artisanal rum in its first year; the equivalent of 2m single rum serves. 

Over the next 12 months the firm is forecasting a 400% increase in turnover and is hoping to create five full time roles; including positions in distilling and business development.

Founded by husband and wife, Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, Matugga Distillers promises an expansion of their Matugga Rum series of ‘golden and spiced rums crafted with African soul’.

Originally small batch distilled in England before moving production to Scotland, the rums draw inspiration from the couple’s Ugandan and Jamaican family heritage.

Matugga has an East African flavour profile, achieved using sugar cane molasses from the region and a masala chai blend of black tea, ginger, cloves, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon.

The couple began exploring Central Scotland when Mr Rutasikwa – a chartered civil engineer by trade – began a Masters Degree in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

The family – which includes their two young daughters – relocated from London to Livingston in July 2017. Since then, the firm has celebrated export success following a listing with French distributor, Dugas.

Mr Rutasikwa said he feels an affinity with Scotland’s distilling heritage. He said: “Scotland has hundreds of years of distilling expertise and history. This, combined with my African heritage, is what will inspire us to create new and exciting rums. We can think of no better place to be launching our new distillery and beginning such an exciting journey.

“The ethos of Matugga Distillers is underpinned by the Swahili saying ‘pole pole’ (pronounced poleh poleh), which means ‘slowly slowly’. We want people to slow down, sip, savour and share our rums with friends and family.”  

Mrs Rutasikwa, is looking forward to introducing Matugga rums to the Scottish market: “Building on the success we’ve had in Europe, the next year will see us focus on making friends and contacts in the on-trade and off-trade while continuing to bring something different to the UK rum scene as a whole,” she said.



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