A new micro distillery has opened its doors in Tayport, Fife, using locally sourced fruit and grain to produce Scotland’s first version of France’s famous eau de vie.
Tay Spirit’s Never.25 infuses grain that is milled, mashed, fermented and triple-distilled in Fife before Scottish fruit is added to macerate and infuse into the spirit. A fourth distillation then enhances flavour.
The naturally flavoured drink, which is being made in raspberry, strawberry, and apple flavours, is the brainchild of Kecia McDougall who was inspired by Fife’s food larder to create the unique Scottish spirit.
Using advice from Business Gateway Fife, the former nurse and distiller invested £120k to start the business, importing a bespoke 500 litre still from the Netherlands that has the capacity to produce up to 1000 bottles per month.
Kecia said: “Because the gin market is now maturing, I wanted to make something different. With such high-quality grain and world-renowned fruit on my doorstep, eau de vie seemed the natural fit.
“The drink is 100% Scottish using wheat from Fife, fruit from Fife and Tayside, and Scottish barley. Seven steps are followed to create the unique spirit from scratch on Scottish soil, with the fruit added twice to give Never.25’s signature flavour. Eau de vie is already a huge hit in American cocktail bars and that trend will distil across the Atlantic and, as the only producer of eau de vie in Scotland, Never.25 will be perfectly placed to fulfil demand.
“Immediately after I came up with the idea my husband suggested I speak with Business Gateway Fife. My adviser has opened so many doors for me, connecting me with branding experts and helping me successfully apply for funding from Fife Council’s Financial Support to Businesses, Scottish Enterprise and DSL Finance. His help has kept me on track and focused. I wouldn’t be where I am without his input.”
Charles Doeg-Smith, adviser, Business Gateway Fife, said: “Kecia wanted to distil something new on Scottish soil that had the potential to be the next big thing. She also recognised that the abundance of fresh produce grown locally could help her do just that. Our support helped her gain invaluable marketing and positioning insight from The Gothenburg Experiment, a grant from Financial Support to Businesses helped ease start-up costs and a By Design Grant from Scottish Enterprise led her to work with branding experts FortyTwo Studios in Aberdeen who have perfectly captured her story and ethos.”
Forgetting her 25th wedding anniversary last year provided Kecia with the perfect name for her product, Never.25, whose label features a range of symbols close to her heart that include flags (the Saltire and the Stars and Stripes), a robin, a musical pause, a golf ball, and a bluebird.
Kecia said: “Setting up the business has been a whirlwind, and it wasn’t until my father-in-law phoned to apologise for not sending us a 25th wedding anniversary card that I realised we’d also forgotten and my husband exclaimed ‘it’s never 25 years?’ which lead us to our brand name. The symbols on the label are all linked to my life – the golf ball for my son, the musical pause for my daughter, and the robin for my mother-in-law who, before passing away from Motor Neurone Disease, told us that whenever we see a robin she is around us.
“The bluebird is integral to the start of my new life in Scotland. When I left America 30 years ago I sat next to a stranger on the plane who noticed I was upset, having left my family at the airport. She asked for my address and two weeks later a beautiful bluebird ornament was delivered and it still has pride of place in my kitchen. That compassion, and the fact the bluebird is a symbol of happiness, seemed to perfectly epitomise what I wanted to achieve with my eau de vie – produce a product that brings friends and family together.”