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How we supported Wee Spirit to realise its global ambitions

Find out how we helped Edinburgh distiller Wee Spirit get started on its exporting journey.

3 June 2024 | 3 minute read

Edinburgh drinks producer, Wee Spirit, is toasting success as it expands into new markets with the support of our international arm, Scottish Development International (SDI).

Founded in Edinburgh in 2020, distiller Wee Sprit’s bold vision is to make its Wee Smoky product the global go-to peated Scotch whisky for cocktail mixology.

With a strong commitment to exporting and support from SDI, the brand is already seeing success in markets across the globe, securing orders in Germany, China, Luxembourg, Poland and Hong Kong.

“I lived over in Hong Kong for four years, and I lived in San Francisco," said Rory Gammell, Wee Spirit's founder. "I could see this massive rise of cocktail mixology and for me there was a gulf – where was Scotch whisky in this massively growing segment? It just wasn’t there,” explained founder, Rory Gammell.

Keen to move away from what he described as the “antlers and armchairs” perception of Scotch whisky, Rory said Wee Smoky is about bridging the gap between that world and the cocktail world – making the spirit relevant to modern mixology.

Far from the cocktail bars of Hong Kong and California, Rory set to work in his family shed in East Lothian to develop the Wee Smoky brand, testing different bottles and packaging with a focus on innovation and flair. “I felt very strongly that it needed to really stand out,” he said. “I was very keen that it would resonate with a new generation.”

Wee Smoky’s striking bright blue bottle with modern graphics and hot pink seal aims to draw the eye of non-whisky drinkers. Finished in peated casks, the taste is described as smooth, fruity, and gently smoky.

The first 400-bottle batch of Wee Smoky single grain Scotch whisky sold out within four days and went on to win a Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

How we've supported Wee Spirit

We put the team at Wee Spirit in touch with our international trade colleagues. The team supported them with business development, advice on entering different markets and making introductions to potential buyers

Rory highlighted the support given by Chris Keenan, International Export Specialist, Food and Drink, who has assisted the company in securing grant funding to help with export activations and made connections with different buyers.

“We’re speaking with 30 or so markets with the help of Chris,” said Rory. “He’s opened so many helpful doors for us.”

Rory also pointed out the work of the SDI team in Singapore, where Yvette Wong of the Consumer Industries team included the Wee Smoky brand in a buyer’s event where it got the attention of an international supermarket chain. This resulted in an initial order being agreed, with more lined up in the future.

 “That was teed up by Chris and Yvette and the team around them. We’re hugely grateful for that introduction,” Rory added.

Chris Keenan said: "The combination of innovation and ambition from Wee Spirit is palpable. SDI support for Wee Smoky not only drives the company's export success, it also shows the world what modern Scotland can offer."

Learn more about Wee Spirit on the company websiteopens in a new window

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