Russell Scanlan Says Chin Chin to Craft Gin Maker
A unique craft gin distillery, based on the Southern Hebridean Isle of Jura, had trouble finding anyone interested in giving them insurance. That was until Russell Scanlan stepped in to solve their problem.
After having difficulty finding specialist insurance cover for their business, the directors of the Lussa Drinks Company heard about Russell Scanlan’s Masterbrew services aimed specifically at the micro brewing sector and got in touch.
They had found very little appetite within the insurance sector to provide the appropriate cover. But Russell Scanlan went out of its way to source and secure a bespoke insurance package to meet their specific business needs.
Thanks to the relaxation in HMRC rules, it is now easier for distillers to become licensed producers of gin. In 2015, the same year as Lussa Drinks Company started, 49 new gin distilleries opened across the country. This is good news for the gin industry as The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) predicts gin sales to push through the £1bn mark in 2016.
The three founders of Lussa are neighbours on the Isle of Jura and through a chance conversation about career prospects on the island, the decision to set up Lussa Gin was borne.
Prior to setting up Lussa Drinks Company LLP, the directors had no experience of running a gin distillery. Claire Fletcher had a 20-year career with the BBC, Georgina Kitching is a Cambridge graduate who went on to become a science teacher, and Alicia MacInnes, originally from Australia, trained to be an architect.
Claire Fletcher said: “We have been in business just over a year and were really surprised that there wasn’t specialist insurance available given the rise in the number of gin distilleries opening. There seemed to be lots of products available for microbreweries but not gin businesses. There also didn’t seem to be any interest to provide us with insurance. It wasn’t until we spoke to Russell Scanlan that we felt we had someone fighting our corner. They intuitively asked the right questions and understood what we needed.
“HMRC has cut some of the red tape for business owners who want to set up and run a gin distillery so we thought the insurance sector would have spotted this opportunity.
“For us, having a quality, niche British product with a strong brand value, is very important for us to achieve our ambitions for growth. For us to succeed part of that means protecting our assets and thanks to Russell Scanlan’s innovative and creative approach, that has now happened.”
Mike Dickinson, Sales and Marketing Director at Russell Scanlan, secured the new contract with Lussa Drinks Company. He said: “The gin industry has a bright future in the UK with many enterprising businesses like Lussa Drinks Company tapping into the high demand for their craft gin. They need the assurance that their hard work doesn’t go to waste through lack of the right insurance. Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and there are enough hurdles owners face trying to get their operations off the ground. We are delighted to have helped Lussa Gin with their insurance needs which is one less challenge for them to have to deal with.”
Lussa Gin has had a tremendous amount of support from the locals on the island, from sampling to stocking and selling the gin in the local community shop and Jura Hotel, as well as their neighbouring island of Islay. The aim is to sell the product through the company’s new website (www.lussagin.com). One piece of advice director Claire Fletcher offers others thinking of setting up their own business is to keep persevering.
“It can be lonely and frustrating when you set up a business but perseverance will win through at the end of the day. We have had many setbacks and are likely to have more in the future but our perseverance is now paying off. And, thanks to Russell Scanlan’s tenacity, we now have the right insurance to protect our business,” said Claire Fletcher.