Strathearn Cider Company
What are the aims of your project?
This project manufactures high quality cider to make excellent use of the many tonnes of apples grown locally which used to go to waste. In the longer-term the company also plans to produce a cider bottling which showcases the superb soft fruit grown in Perthshire. After carefully researching the craft cider market with the help of the rural Perth Business gateway team, they identified an opportunity to establish and grow a quality cider making business in rural Perthshire. ‘Scruffy Dog Cider’ is a strong, engaging brand which has worked closely with locally owned community orchards to source their apples. Perthshire has a fantastic history of producing great apples and we are looking forward to playing a part in growing its reputation for fantastic cider too.
How did your project achieve these aims?
Through the Scottish Rural Development Programme, we have developed our website; created our very popular brand image, featuring our iconic hero ‘Ozzy’, and constructed our cider shed which will be used for production and storage and be the base for our Scruffy Dog Cider. Production equipment will be purchased allowing production ourselves from October 2019. Through collaboration with other local businesses our brand is already gaining a reputation for quality and we aim to grow our business rapidly over the coming months and years, and have committed to donating a percentage of our profits to local charities once we are established.
The business partnership was set up by myself, George Blues, and Carol McLaren. We have worked with many local business for collaborations to build our brand, for example T’Go Creative who helped with our web and logo designs.
How was the project funded?
We have self-funded our business from the beginning. We used some savings we had, along with my redundancy payment from Edrington which made the LEADER project critical to our plans.
Where did you go for help and advice?
As well as LEADER, we have found Business Gateway, Perth Chamber of Commerce, GrowBiz and Scottish Executive all to be really helpful – both with ideological and tangible assistance.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
To be listed with some well-known local outlets and have people asking for our ciders always gives us a buzz. We are now looking to expand and have attended a couple of trade shows to gain more exposure – the feedback so far is very encouraging.
And the biggest challenge?
We are operating in a very competitive market, with some very dominating players in our industry. Persistence is key, although it is an ongoing battle to achiever level playing-field conditions……
Any tips for those setting up a similar project?
There is lots of help out there – go ask and take in all the help you can. Our thanks go to all those who have helped us get to this stage, particularly the Rural Perth & Kinross LEADER team and Business Gateway in Perth.
What’s next for your project?
We plan to attend some heavyweight events during the summer and have recently been taken on with a distribution company which should help with growth plans. We would also love to dip our toes into the word of exporting……
Jackie Brierton, Rural Perth & Kinross LEADER:
“This small enterprise project, set to receive an award of £32,500, is one of a number benefitting from the £3.8 million share of LEADER and Scottish Government funds available for the development of rural communities and enterprise in Perthshire until 2020.
This is a creative and innovative project which will help prevent the wastage of excess apples grown locally and we are pleased we have been able to support it.”