Newly-launched SC Dogs Distillery on St Martin’s is distilling hand sanitiser to help in the effort against coronavirus on the Isles of Scilly.
SC Dogs Distillery, a producer of rum and vodka based on St Martin’s on the Isles of Scilly, has recently started producing free hand sanitiser for residents over 70 on the island to help against the propagation of Covid-19.
The distillery which started producing in September last year and started bottling its first batches of white rum and vodka, is the first of its kind on the Isles of Scilly. SC Dogs Distillery is the new enterprise launched in February 2019 by the Walder family who has been running Carron Farm on the island for almost 70 years.
“Our family history can be traced back over 320 years on the islands, so the idea of community, what it means and the lifeline it can be is in our blood,” said Andrew Walder, one of the driving forces behind SC Dogs Distillery.
“It’s important to us to give back to the community. During the Coronavirus outbreak we have refocused our efforts, using some of our distilled alcohol to produce a hand sanitiser, with free bottles dropped on the doorsteps of the over 70’s on the island of St Martins.”
The Walder family have worked closely with the wider community and the whole of the Isles of Scilly to create a premium rum which not only uses locally grown ingredients wherever possible, but also is reflective of the heritage of the islands. Each product has a story on the bottle dedicated to a character who embodies the ‘Spirit of St Martin’s’ with artwork commissioned by different local artists and illustrators. The company has also started discussing future collaborations for diversification with other businesses on the islands.
Walder added: “The distillery aims to protect our future livelihoods, give jobs to others but also it’s about supporting other local businesses within our community, not just on St. Martin’s but across the whole of the Isles of Scilly and particularly the off islands.”
SC Dogs Distillery was launched after successfully tapping into European funding available to businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which helped turn the family farming business into a fully functioning distillery.
State of the art Genio distillery equipment arrived on St Martin’s in early February 2019 and the first batches of white rum and vodka are now available online, from the distillery door and local retailers across the Isles of Scilly. Rums that require a period of ageing have been laid down in traditional oak barrels, sourced from Speyside Cooperage in Scotland. These will be available from late 2020 onwards.
“It’s taken over six years of planning and investment to get SC Dogs Distillery up and running,” says Andrew.
“We initially applied to the RDPE Growth Fund for funding to help us repurpose the outbuildings on the farm so that they were suitable and also to buy the distillery equipment we needed. Once we’d actually started to develop our rum we applied to the Isles of Scilly Voucher Scheme for support with our marketing, online and social media presence.”
The Isles of Scilly Voucher Scheme is a project financed by the European Regional Development Fund and run by the Isles of Scilly Council. The scheme allows businesses and individuals on the islands to access financial support from £1k to £100k to invest in their start up or existing business.
Kirsty Graham, engagement officer from the Voucher Scheme, said: “SC Dogs Distillery is the kind of business the Voucher Scheme wants to support. The aim of the scheme is really to facilitate long term, sustainable growth on the islands and to help people running businesses access the investment they need in order to be able to achieve that. We want businesses to be able to realise their growth ambitions and to create more jobs to help create a sustainable economy for the Isles of Scilly.”