14 May 2018
I hope it’s not a surprise to hear that Glasgow Chamber would love to see more companies making product in and around the city.
We have never believed that Glasgow should accept its manufacturing tradition as a thing of the past, and we really don’t like seeing it described as ‘post-industrial’.
If only our Sunday name, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and Manufactures, was a tiny wee bit snappier, then we would be getting that message across every day.
Our most recent Glasgow Talks … The Business of Gin event focused on one growing company that shows the profitable making of new product is perfectly feasible in the city. The Glasgow Distillery Company is a spirits company based in Hillington, which introduced the brand Makar as a premium gin in 2014 and which will very soon be launching 1770, the very first new single malt to be distilled in Glasgow in over a hundred years.
Two of the company’s founders, CEO Liam Hughes and Brand Director Mike Hayward, demonstrated that with some hefty industry experience and support from funders like the Clydesdale Bank, it is perfectly possible to see new manufacturing capacity emerge in the city.
Whilst the story of whisky’s success has been widely told, it’s perhaps less well known that Scotland produces around 70% of the UK’s gin and the overseas market for UK gin has grown by 32% in value and 37% in volume over the past five years.
Of course, the Glasgow Distillery Company team is not alone. I recently visited the Clydeside Distillery at the former Queen’s Dock Pump House with the Leader of the Council. Alongside the distillery itself Tim Morrison and his team have built a beautifully-designed visitor centre that not only takes you through the whole process involved in creating Clydeside’s forthcoming single malt, but also explores the long tradition of whisky making in Glasgow and the role that Tim’s family have played not just in the whisky industry but also in the architectural heritage of the city.
Tim’s ancestor John Morrison owned the 19th century building company Morrison & Mason who constructed the Queen’s Dock and therefore the Pump House itself. Morrison & Mason were also the builders for some other Glasgow landmarks including the City Chambers, the Clyde Navigation Trust building that is now Clydeport’s office on Robertson Street and the Chamber’s own offices at Merchant’s House.
The Clydeside tour is an excellent reminder of just how important Glasgow was in the development of the whisky industry with a really superb animation explaining the history of Glasgow’s whisky barons. But it’s even more encouraging that the teams at the Glasgow Distillery Company and at the Clydeside Distillery show that Glasgow can bank on manufacturing as an important foundation for our future too.