School-friend founders of a Scottish rum distillery have reached the final of Citi Foundation’s ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Zander Macgregor and Allan Nairn launched Wester Spirit Co. in 2017, initially working with a distillery in Perth to hone their craft. By November 2018, they launched their own distillery, the first of its kind in Glasgow for over 300 years.
The school-friends both enjoy rum and wondered why it wasn’t being made in Scotland, when there is so much choice of Scottish gins and whiskies.
Wester’s products are now stocked in over 300 establishments and listed with 9 major wholesalers. Its spiced rum was named in the top 10 spiced rums in the world by The Independent and won best distilled product at the Scotland Food & Drink Awards 2019.
A zero waste to landfill business, Wester’s waste is turned back into energy or is used by a local farmer. Energy comes from 100% renewable sources, and the firm will launch 100% recyclable packaging in 2020.
Its progress has so impressed an independent panel of business experts that this week Macgregor and Nairn were named two of just four UK finalists for a Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
‘It is fantastic to hear that we are a finalist in the young microentrepreneur awards category’, Macgregor and Nairn said. ‘We are making big positive changes to our distillery and business this year and being a finalist gives us a boost in confidence that we are making the correct decisions.’
The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, funded by the Citi Foundation, are an annual celebration of Britain’s microentrepreneurs that have accessed ‘responsible’ business finance. Glasgow-based responsible finance provider, DSL Business Finance, provided a £45,000 business loan to support Wester’s growth.
Bob Annibale, global director, Citi Inclusive Finance and Community Development, said: ‘Young entrepreneurs like Allan and Zander play a vital role in strengthening communities throughout the UK by creating jobs, unlocking opportunities, and addressing social and environmental challenges. The Awards recognise the positive impact they are having on a local and national scale, and these exceptional finalists and the responsible finance providers which supported them all contribute to the economic, social and environmental vibrancy of their communities.’
Wester Spirit Co and DSL Business Finance must now wait until 12 May when the winners of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards will be announced at an Awards Ceremony in Bristol.