Former headteacher creates award-winning Scottish craft gin business

Former headteacher creates award-winning Scottish craft gin business

Nicola Finney

A former headteacher whose son registered her business on Companies House without her knowledge is now the creator of an award-winning Scottish craft gin.

Collymoon Craft Gin’s Gealach Úr Scottish Dry Gin recently won the Bronze Medal Award for Scotland in the London Dry Gin category at the World Gin Awards in January. The gin, which has a unique blend of Scottish botanicals, boasts citrus notes with a hint of spice and floral flavours.

Colymoon Craft Gin is the brainchild of former headteacher, Nicola Finney, who had a long-held dream of launching her own gin and spirits brand. In 2021, Nicola left her career in education and returned to Scotland after 30 years living in Staffordshire, on a mission to turn her vision into a reality.

Her son, Cameron, motivated Nicola to take first official step on her business journey by registering the business on Companies House without her knowledge.

Buoyed by the support of her family and friends, Nicola spent the next 18 months learning about foraging and botanicals, flavour profiles and the distillation process so she could get off to the best possible start.

A family affair, Nicola also involved the rest of her children in her business journey, with her eldest son Ben designing the business’ logo, and her youngest son Kieran, a mixologist, creating perfect serves and cocktail recipes, including a negroni and a dry martini.

Looking for advice on how to get her business off to the best start possible, Nicola accessed a suite of Business Gateway’s start-up support services, including one-to-one support from a dedicated business adviser, as well as advice on her business plan, funding, premises and marketing.

Through Business Gateway, Nicola was put in touch with a digital expert who carried out an audit of her website, ensuring it was as user-friendly as possible. Nicola also learned about methods to optimise her search performance to market her product to her target audience.

As well as selling online, Collymoon Craft Gin is now stocked in a range of hotels and B&Bs, including The Inn at Aberfoyle and the Black Bull in Gartmore. Nicola is now developing flavours for her next batch of gin products, which will include a navy strength edition, as well a fig, orange and vanilla gin.

Nicola Finney, founder and owner, Collymoon Craft Gin, said: “I’ve always liked gin, and always had a hankering for setting up my own business, but was a bit apprehensive about jumping in at the deep end. I still can’t believe that my first product is award-winning.

“Business Gateway has been a massive support throughout the process of setting up my business. Having my adviser on the end of the phone has given me a real confidence boost, knowing that I’m not alone in this process.”

Linda Letford, Business Gateway Stirling’s expert Food, Drink and Tourism adviser, added: “Collymoon Craft Gin has seen great success since launching, which is testament to Nicola’s hard work and passion for her product. I’m very much looking forward to watching where the business goes next.”

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