Simon Erlanger, managing director of Isle of Harris gin
Two Harris brands are displaying their products in Japan this week as part of the Cabinet Secretary’s visit to promote Scottish business in the country.
The Isle of Harris Gin and Harris Tweed will feature at a reception at the British Embassy in Tokyo, where Fiona Hyslop, Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, will promote Scotland as an ideal location for Japanese investment.
Delegates will be offered Isle of Harris’ gin as a welcome drink before being given the opportunity to view Harris Tweed luxury fabric garments and accessories.
The visit was designed to build relations with the community of investors, trade partners, Scottish companies and intermediaries in Japan; while showcasing the best of Scotland on a global stage.
Harris businesses have attended to demonstrate that even Scotland’s most remote enterprises can achieve international reach. The Cabinet Secretary’s programme of engagements runs from 2 – 5 July.
With Japan ranking 19th as an export destination for Scottish goods, Scotland also continues to enjoy confidence from Japanese investors - 90 of whom are currently based here, employing 6,060 locally adding £1.8bn to the local economy.
The two Harris institutions were invited to attend the Cabinet Secretary’s reception by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). To date, Isle of Harris Distillers has received grant approvals from HIE totalling more than £1.25m assisting with the construction of the distillery, off-site warehouse, business development costs and attendance at trade fairs. The company also leases the land it occupies from HIE.
Harris Tweed has enjoyed continued support from HIE including a £300,000 investment towards the upgrade and expansion of Lewis based Harris Tweed Hebrides to meet the increase in demand for its unique and highly popular cloth.
Simon Erlanger, managing director of Isle of Harris Gin, commented: “Despite the brand’s infancy, Harris gin has been embraced by Japan and its love of premium spirits.
“The Japanese share a passion for seaweed and seafood, so the connection with our Isle of Harris gin and the Hebridean sugar kelp lends itself to great opportunity for growth.”
Lorna Macauley, chief executive of Harris Tweed Hebrides Authority, commented: “Japan continues to be a vitally important premium export market for Harris Tweed. Japanese consumers understand and appreciate colour, texture and hand-craftsmanship so evident in Harris Tweed cloth."
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs commented:
“Scotland supplies some of the world’s most sought-after produce to high-end retailers and restaurants across the globe. Japan is an important part of that picture – indeed Scotland’s food and drink industry exported goods to Japan worth £130m in 2016. Whisky sales alone have jumped 10% over the last five years.
“Scottish producers take pride in their craft and are dedicated to satisfying international demand for premium products backed by strong Scottish heritage. That is why the Scottish Government has funded a national £10m industry-led strategy to further assist the food and drink sector in realising its ambition to double turnover value by 2030.”
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement