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Scottish gin distillery granted £250,000 to produce hand sanitiser

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

By Sharon Wilson

Family-owned Old Curiosity Distillery has secured a £250,000 loan from Royal Bank of Scotland through the UK Government’s Coronavirus Business Intervention Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The funding will provide the Edinburgh-based business, which currently employs 28 staff at its distillery and herb garden in the city’s Pentland hills, with essential cash flow - helping to secure jobs and protect the future viability of the company.

Old Curiosity is the only gin distillery in the UK to grow its own botanical ingredients onsite, securing contracts with high end retailers including Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the distillers began producing their own hand sanitiser using herbal ingredients and essential oils.

While the firm has suffered a shortfall in sales, adapting its business model to focus on the production of hand sanitiser has allowed the business to stay afloat and continue producing the safety approved antibacterial sanitiser - essential in the fight against coronavirus.

Hamish Martin, Managing Director, Old Curiosity Distillery and Secret Herb Garden said: “Like countless others, our business has taken a previously unimaginable hit since the outbreak of COVID-19.

“This is the most challenging period we’ve ever experienced, but Royal Bank of Scotland worked quickly to grant our loan – providing us with the necessary cash flow to survive the crisis and safeguard our family business for the future.

“Despite seeing such a dramatic shortfall in sales, we’ve used this time to think about the direction of Old Curiosity and are focusing on developing new products such as our hand sanitiser, non-alcoholic gin spirit and gin infused tea range until we can welcome the public to our garden once again.”

While Old Curiosity’s Distillery and its Secret Herb Garden remain closed to the public in line with government social distancing measures, the firm are currently offering contactless collection of their homegrown herbs from the Pentland site.

Old Curiosity Distillery has been a Royal Bank of Scotland business banking customer since launching in 2017.

Denis Curran, Relationship Director, Royal Bank of Scotland, said “Old Curiosity Distillery is a long-standing customer and we are pleased to be able to support the company during such an unprecedented time for businesses across the county.

“Royal Bank of Scotland is committed to safeguarding the future of businesses wherever possible.”

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